Alison Howell is Middleport Pottery’s very first artist in residence. Having just finished a Masters in Ceramic Design at Staffordshire University, Alison will be based at Middleport Pottery this summer, leading a range of activities to encourage young people to experiment with design and ceramics. She will also be working to produce a unique ceramics item inspired by the Pottery and Burleigh. ‘At the moment I’m taking lots of pictures around the site,’ she said. ‘I’m always inspired by buildings, and the buildings at Middleport Pottery are absolutely beautiful.’
The Middleport Residency Programme has been created by The Prince's Regeneration Trust to nurture and develop local artistic talent. The programme is not limited to ceramicists but involves a range of artists and designers working in a variety of mediums.
"We wanted to create a programme that continued our work in developing and nurturing local talent and we could see that the Pottery and Burleigh could offer not just a learning experience but real artistic inspiration for many artists. At the same time the artist can benefit from having the opportunity to demonstrate their work and skill to the public who are visiting the Pottery. In fact, meeting the artist and seeing the artist at work can be exciting and inspirational for the public as well," explained Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, The Prince's Regeneration Trust.
A local girl to Stoke-on-Trent, Alison says she grew up ‘with ceramics everywhere in everyone’s houses,’ and this led her to start her own ceramics journey. Her work shows her passion for making pieces that are decorative but also functional. For example her ‘Archaic’ collection has a very simple and functional form in bone china, decorated with patterns inspired by architectural designs and floor plans.
Alison’s work at Middleport Pottery ties in with her previous experience at the Stoke-on-Trent’s British Ceramics Biennial, which runs a festival presenting work from the UK’s leading contemporary ceramic artists. Alison said, ‘It’s great to get people from Stoke-on-Trent interested in ceramics again because if no one from the younger generation were interested we’d lose our history.’
Alison will be in residence for eight weeks. Her studio will be open to the public who can see Alison at work, ask about her work and see her collections.
During her residency, Alison will be leading activities at the ‘Ceramic Summer’ at the Pottery, which is running until 31 August. Families can drop in anytime Monday - Sunday, between 10am and 4.30pm. There are craft activities (£1 - paper and colouring crafts), clay craft activities (£2.50 - available Tues-Thurs, 11am-4pm only) and free trails around Middleport Pottery.
Alison will also be at the free Clay Cargo Family Workshop this Saturday 9 August, from 11am – 4pm. On Friday scuba divers will be dredging the canal at the places where the cranes used to load and unload pottery, to find fragments to use in Saturday's workshop. Using these fragments, and finds from the River Thames foreshore, visitors on Saturday will be encouraged to imagine what the original pot was like and to recreate it in clay.
The event has been devised in partnership with the British Ceramics Biennial and the Canal & River Trust.
To see Alison’s range of ceramic work, visit http://www.artsthread.com/p/ajceramics/
To find out more about the artist in residency programme please contact email@example.com