Next Thames Foreshore Walks: May 10 and June 13

Dates of the next Thames Foreshore walks with archaeologist, Mike Webber, are Sunday 10th May at 1145 and Saturday 13th June at 1715. We will be exploring the foreshore at Greenwich in May and the City in June, a site we have visited before.

If you would like to join either or both walks, please contact us to book a place.  Places go fast and are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.  All directions will be sent on booking.

The £20 cost (payable on the day) goes towards Clayground’s work with young people in London, Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent.  Children aged 8-17 are welcome (£15).

Click here for a filmed interview with archaeologist, Mike Webber.

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Kiln construction with Martin Brockman at London Sculpture Workshop

Clayground Collective invites people to engage with all things clay.  Last summer as part of our current project, Clay Cargo, we worked on kiln construction and kiln firing as a focus for community celebration.  Core participants were members of Crisis Art Programme.  We were hosted by London Sculpture Workshop based at the Bermondsey Project, an arts hub in South London.

Specialist kiln artist, Martin Brockman, taught us how to make kilns from paper, from shopping trolleys, how to suspend a kiln and transport kilns in wheelbarrows.  We made a brick-built updraft kiln, decorated by participants with oxides. Clayground’s Duncan Hooson demonstrated a raku kiln.

The creation of a “field of fire” became a focus for the public celebration to mark a final chapter in The Bermondsey Project.

Film-maker, Luke Glover, made this and two other films posted below.  These are of workshops aboard the Clay Cargo boat and about an archaeology session with Mike Webber at the Skip Garden, King’s Cross.

A film made by Matt Edwards of our visit to Middleport Pottery, Stoke, with poet Rachel Long and artist David Binns, can be seen by clicking here.

A conversation between surgical educator, Roger Kneebone, and Clayground’s Duncan Hooson, can be seen by clicking here.

Sessions on the Clay Cargo boat, hosted by Fordham Gallery

Taking inspiration from Josiah Wedgwood, ceramic industrialist and pioneering investor in the canal system, Clay Cargo renews connections between clay and canals.

Clay Cargo activities last summer about the Fordham Gallery boat were filmed by Luke Glover.  Here you will see workshop participants, from Crisis Art Programme and from Camden Libraries, learning about the changing shape of pots throughout time and traditional making methods.  There is much archaeological evidence of the import and export of pots via the Thames and via the inland waterways.

Film from Clay Cargo 2014: A Roman archaeology session with Mike Webber

Over the next three weeks, we will be posting films of Clay Cargo activities last summer made by Luke Glover.  The first is of a session we held at the Skip Garden, King’s Cross, with archaeologist Mike Webber.  Mike displayed tens of pieces of Roman ceramic he had found over the years on the Thames Foreshore.  We invited participants to handle these objects and try their hand at various decorative techniques common in Roman, medieval and Tudor times: rouletting, carving and slip trailing.

For those interested in conducting their own search for ceramic fragments on the Foreshore, Mike is leading another Clayground walk on March 22nd.  See below and contact us for further details.

Next Thames Foreshore Archaeological Walk

Date of the next Thames Foreshore walk with archaeologist, Mike Webber, is Sunday 22nd March at 9.15 am.

If you would like to join the walk, please contact us to book a place.  Places go fast and are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.  We will be exploring the north bank of the Thames near the City, a site we have visited before.  All directions will be sent on booking.

The £20 cost (payable on the day) goes towards Clayground’s work with young people in London, Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent.  Children aged 8 and over are welcome (£15).

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Clay Cargo 2014 Collection: the Thames Foreshore

An exhibition of poems and images commissioned as part of Clay Cargo 2014 can be seen until February 15th in Pancras Library, part of the new Camden City Hall, 5 Pancras Square, London N1C 4AG.  The library is open 8am-8pm Monday to Saturday and 11-5 on Sundays.  The associated publication can be obtained by contacting Clayground.

Barry Taylor and Matthew Raw on the Thames

Barry Taylor, poet, and Matthew Raw, artist.

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Clay Cargo 2014 Collection: Saltwells Nature Reserve

Our second location was the pit once quarried by ceramic manufacturer, Henry Doulton (1820-1897) at Saltwells, Dudley, near Birmingham.  Arriving by canal with Ikon’s youth programme, Black Country Voyages, we walked through the woods to the site now a spectacular nature reserve.  We travelled with poet Elisabeth Charis and collected clay and botanical material for artist Rob Kesseler.  Rob works with electron microscopy and has revealed the deeper molecular structure of the clay and plant material gathered.  Elisabeth has written about the canals, the pit, clay’s ancient origins and qualities.  Here are glimpses of their work.

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CLAY WITH DIATOM: clay sample with a Marine pennate diatom frustule. Diatoms are unicellular phytoplankton enclosed within a cell wall made of silica. Magnification 8000x, hand coloured SEM micrograph, Rob Kesseler 2014.

Elisabeth Charis at Saltwells

Elisabeth Charis, poet, at Saltwells

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Clay Cargo 2014 Collection: Stoke-on-Trent

We started the Clay Cargo 2014 journey with a visit to Stoke-on-Trent with poet Rachel Long and artist David Binns. Delving under the surface of the Canal at Middleport, the home of Burleigh pottery, we retrieved ceramic fragments dropped during loading of barges; we visited the pottery itself and another, Steelite International.  David has created new material out of the found fragments, embedding history in his architectural ceramics.  This piece is called Metamorphosism: the act of altering the appearance and structure of pre-existing minerals through the action of heat.

Rachel Long, poet, and David Binns, artist in Stoke

Rachel Long, poet, and David Binns, artist in Stoke

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Latest finds on the Thames Foreshore

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Clayground’s current project, Clay Cargo 2014: London to Stoke via Birmingham, renews links between ceramics and the waterways today.  Archaeologist, Mike Webber, calls on his encyclopaedic knowledge of London and the river to illuminate the city’s trading history through ceramic fragments turned up by the tide.  Amongst the spectacular finds during our walk on September 27th there was a significant piece from the rim of a Roman mortarium and a piece of medieval jug handle. Continue reading