Through the door into the dark shadows, light shining through dusty windows, shafts of sunlight with dust motes dancing through the beams. We were exploring, looking at the racks of plaster molds, stacked high on racks, above head height. Hundreds of them, all shapes and sizes. For slip casting pottery.
In the back of the store room something stirred. A figure unfolding, grey with dust. Semi transparent, like a ghost? We saw it as it lurched to its feet and grasped at the racks of saggars. It spoke. ‘you don’t belong here’ it shouted ‘get out’, and we did! We turned tail and ran, through the door, through the yard and away. We won’t be going back there again!
My first drawing of 2020 on 2.1.2020. It’s red because we were at Etruria Artists in the warehouse by the canal. It was so cold we had the electric heaters on in the roof that glow cherry red. For those who know the person, I’ve got his nose too long. This is because he was moving.
The Etruria Artists are now meeting on a Thursday morning from 10am to 12noon unless we change it. Hopefully this will encourage more people to come along.
Finished off my take on an Easter island head this week by hollowing it out and adding texture to the surface. It now needs to dry out so it can be fired. If the clay is wet the water in it will expand and may cause the pottery to blow up. It may not be an accurate representation of these wonderful statues, but I hope it is not disrespectful to model it?
We have started to meet on Thursday mornings at Etruria rather than in the evenings, this means we are there at the warehouse on the Trent and Mersey canal by summit lock 40. From 10am to 12 noon.
* note, we are meeting on an ad hoc basis at the moment dependant on the weather.
Four of us visited the Warehouse at Etruria today, its by the summit lock 40 on the Trent and Mersey canal, near Etruria Industrial museum, Stoke-on-Trent.
The subject was Easter Island heads, and I decided to try and work out how to slab build it, which is why I did a drawing of it first. Then because we decided to do smaller statues we decided to carve the clay instead. The results are shown in the middle pictures. Finally I talked to my friend Robert, who is a Potter and leader of the group. He explained that we should have glued bits on with slip if we wanted the pieces firing.
The final photo is one of my hubby’s drawings in response to the ideas. I liked what he was doing and took a photo. He explained he was working on ideas from Barbara Hepworth.
I’m not sure why these are inside a building and not outside by the side of the canal to be used? Perhaps they are old and not the correct standard anymore. Maybe they have been stored in case they are needed? Maybe they are for use by the boat club that meets in the warehouse sometimes. Yes that is damp at the bottom of the wall. The building is between the trent and Mersey canal and the Cauldon canal. It is actually lower down than the water on one side, and next to a deep lock on the other side. So water might be slowly seeping in and the building is over a hundred years old.
Back to the life belts, I guess you could grab them and use them if someone falls in the lock….. I might find out about them…
Etruria Artists hold art sessions at the Warehouse at Etruria on a Thursday evening.
Now big changes are happening. The building is having a disabled toilet and a new kitchenette. This should make it much more usable although we will lose storage space for our art equipment.
So this evening we were surrounded by an old canoe, a canal diorama, bits of wood, some blocks that built into a bridge, planks that pigeons had roosted on and other junk. Most of it had been stored on a platform above the current kitchen and store cupboard. We helped carry some of it out to a skip. My friend Robert rescued some of it, to be recycled later. My hubby wanted to bring back a six foot long, three foot high and wide, table base but I vetoed that as we already had wooden blocks in the car.
I’m not sure when the work will be done but I think it will make it far more comfortable to use.
Using the Layout app from Instagram, I created this surreal image using a photo of a local canal with a strange thin building projecting upwards from what appears to be a circular or oval pool, the water was so still it had a lovely reflection on it, and this has added to the final picture.
The building is the edge of an old, derelict, warehouse that stands like a cliff face next to the canal, in the past ware from the pottery would have been transported from the pottery, south and east to the Midlands or north and west to the coast at Liverpool or up to Manchester and beyond. In fact Stoke-on-Trent lies at the heart of the canal system, and was built around the coal, clay and water of this area. Manufacturing of pottery, steel making and coal mining was on a massive scale here. Industrial archaeology will reveal the landscape as an amazing historical treasure trove of creativity. Some of the buildings were lost to demolition and decay, many bottle ovens have gone. The rest have protection orders on them, but are not necessarily being maintained. Warehouses and factories are crumbling. It is sad that history is being lost.