Between 2001 and 2015 we have collaborated with many organisations and institutions to co-create projects and exchange knowledge. We offered insights into clay skills and learned in turn about audiences, formal and informal curricula, the specific requirements of different people, places and spaces. Collaborations include:
Oak Lodge School for the Deaf on Nightingale Lane Ceramics (2001-2003) and Project Clay (2007)
Discover Storytelling Centre, Stratford. (2008)
Wandsworth Council and Arts About Wandsworth on Nightingale Lane Ceramics (2001-2003)
British Ceramics Biennial and Canal & River Trust on Clay Cargo (2013-2015)
Ikon, Birmingham on Clay Cargo with Slow Boat and Black Country Voyages (2013/2014)
Birmingham 4 Squares Weekender (2013)
Set the Table with Birmingham City Library (2014)
Materialise with RIBA. (2014)
Saltwells Nature Reserve, Sandwell on Clay Cargo with Black Country Voyages (2014)
London Sculpture Workshop, Martin Brockman, Crisis and Bermondsey Project on Kiln Construction and community celebration. (2014)
Middleport Pottery on Pits and Pots and Clay Cargo (2013/14)
Camden Libraries on Clay Cargo (2013/2014/2015)
Global Generation on Clay Cargo (2013/2014)
Central Saint Martins Widening Participation, Ceramic and Product Design on Clay Cargo
and Thinking Hands? Symposium (2013/2014/2015)
A New Direction on BIGLOP festival, What on Earth is Clay? 11 Schools Enquiry. (2011)
Film of “What Can Clay Skills Teach?” and Thinking Hands? Symposium. (2014)
Project Phakama on Earth Exchange (2012)
Morley Gallery on Marathon Make (2012)
Pangolin London on Clay Cargo (2013)
Etruria Trust on boat transport, Clay Cargo (2013)
Fordham Galley on Clay Cargo (2013/2014/2015)
Newton’s Cottage, Queen Elizabeth Park, on Maker’s Day (2014)
Museum of London, family making day. (2012)
Crafts Council on Firing Up national programme to revive clay skills in schools and colleges. (2010-2013)
We regularly host archaeological walks on the Thames Foreshore, led by archaeologist Mike Webber. Visual references of ceramic fragments from Roman, Medieval, Tudor and Stuart, Georgian and Victorian periods were produced by Mike for the Thames Explorer Trust whilst working with the Thames Discovery Programme. You can download these documents by clicking on links below, but please think before you print and credit Thames Explorer Trust on any printout distributed further.
1 Georgian & Victorian Pottery
2 Tudor & Stuart Pottery
3 Medieval Pottery
4 Roman Pottery
Clayground invites other artists specialising in different artforms to engage with the material and help renew clay in the public imagination. We have worked with movement and theatre specialists, choreographers, scientists, archaeologists, story-makers, poets, photographers, film-makers, musicians and artists specialising in clay and kiln-building. Images on this site are mostly by photographer, Caroline Gervay, commissioned to record three years of Clay Cargo. Films by Luke Glover and Matt Edwards can be found on the film page.
In 2014 we commissioned three artists specialising in clay, David Binns, Rob Kesseler and Matt Raw; and three poets , Rachel Long, Elisabeth Charis and Barry Taylor, to respond to three locations in London, Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent. Kiln artist, Martin Brockman, in 2012, 2013 and 14 was commissioned to build specialist kilns in Stoke and in London. Writers were commissioned in association with Spread the Word, Writing West Midlands and the British Ceramics Biennial.
“……The experience was not what I imagined it would be. … being given the freedom to explore and respond like a child, like a poet, you absorb everything, sponge-like. When you do this, … nothing is as you imagined it would be. When you are given the space to explore and delve freely, you more often than not have all of your preconceptions blasted to pieces. In a good way. In a beautiful way your experience is so much more than you imagined. It was a real pleasure to be a part of Clay Cargo. A wonderful commission. I feel a richer poet for being part of it.” Rachel Long, Poet (Shortlisted for Young Poet Laureate for London)
“I think I’ve discovered a new magical thing during this couple of days. Clay – it’s amazing.”
Elisabeth Charis, poet
A copy of Clay Cargo 2014 Collection with poems and images can be purchased for £5.00 plus postage by contacting us requesting further information.
In 2015, in association with Sound & Music, we commissioned composers Nathaniel Mann and Daniel Merrill of Dead Rat Orchestra to compose an original piece of music to mark completion of both Clay Cargo and Project Clay. This was performed by 25 piece steel orchestra, The Melodians, under direction of Terry Noel MBE and arranged by Amy Daniel. It was performed during Clay Cargo in King’s Cross. You can see a film and hear the music track by going to the film section.
Thinking Hands? Research
Thinking Hands? Research
Limitless knowledge is now available at the swipe of the screen with the fingertips. Other kinds of knowledge however can only be gained through the fingertips working with hands and forearms in development of craft skills. Recent research reveals how these skills are critical to development not only of craftsmanship but the development of visual acuity, even the ability to think, develop language and concepts.
As part of Thinking Hands? our research into hand skills’ development and its role in seeing, thinking and learning, we hosted discussions aboard our floating clay ‘laboratory’ during Clay Cargo. These generated recordings and laid the foundations for a symposium held at Central Saint Martins in 2014.
We asked a series of professionals for whom hand skills are fundamental what they first remember making, from whom they had learned and what they can “see” through their hands which is difficult to see with their eyes.
The Thinking Hands? drew on perspectives in ceramic design, medicine, and neuroscience, held at Central Saint Martins, September 17 2014.
Thinking Hands? Symposium takes inspiration from Juhani Pallasmaa’s book The Thinking Hand: Existential and Embodied Wisdom in Architecture.
Download a copy of the Symposium report here: Thinking Hands Symposium Report Final
Download an article describing the origins of The Symposium here: Crafting Survival, Heath, Rowntree
Professionals interviewed were:
Hannah Parker and Ashley Clayton, Designer and Architect respectively, Heatherwick Studios.
Paul Richens, Horticulturalist
Diane Eagles and Kirstin Leighton-Boyce, Art Therapists
Manpreet Dhatt, Craftswoman
Bruce Noble, Ophthalmologist
Natalie Born, Couture Tailor
Alexander Huber, Hairdresser and ceramic artist
Exchanging skills and knowledge with others is central to what motivates us. We connect people of different expertise and skill at different stages of their lives and careers to spark new insights and pass on knowledge. We aim, where possible, to open up different worlds and new career opportunities for young people taking part. Intergenerational and cross-sector meetings we have convened are:
Thinking Hands? discussions with Global Generation, Central Saint Martins (CSM) students and the following people:
Hannah Bird and Ashley Clayton, Heatherwick Studios.
Nao Matsunaga, Ceramic Artist
Imperial College Surgical Students
Happy Museum Project members
Arts Council visual arts team
Hand skills professionals at Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA)
Visual impairment awareness with members of LOOK and BOA
Child Protection Policy with Global Generation and CSM students.
Clay science with Javier Cuadros, Clay Mineralogy Researcher, Natural History Museum
Mike Webber, Roman archaeology and decorative techniques
Discussion in Birmingham with students from Ormiston Academy and members of LOOK, support group for visually impaired young people. Hand skills professionals: Ruth Claxton, Sculptor; David Prytherch, Research Artist; Simon Taylor, Ceramic Artist; Karina Thompson, Textile Artist.
“I am always impressed with the breadth of Clayground’s approach. Their work succeeds in encapsulating specialisms as diverse as heritage, art, engineering, environment and science. At the same time it stimulates innovative intellectual debate, for example around haptic skills, alongside practical engagement with clay” Hilary Jennings
, Interim Chair, Craft Industry Board, Project Director, Happy Museum Project