Portal is an Arts Council funded residency project – Casting multiple individual porcelain ceramic door handles, the work will explore what South Shropshire means to individuals and how it shapes our sense of belonging, identity and relationships to this rural landscape.
The project will collate the stories of the residents both new residents and those who have lived in South Shropshire for generations, exploring the diverse community that lives here. Documenting individual stories through a variety of media, people’s thoughts, inspirations, reflections and aspirations, the project will develop a series of artistic works.
It is aimed that there will be a series of opportunities for engagement as the project develops. Local residents will have the opportunity to choose and cast their own ceramic piece as part of a collaborative installation work, to participate in workshops and artist talks.
Using moving image, sound, text and ceramics the work will explore the individual stories of the community.
We are also in the early stages of development of a collaborative ceramic light installation created from this year long residency in woodland sites across South Shropshire including Mortimer Forest and AONB areas in Shropshire.
We intend to site illuminated porcelain door handles along an easy access trail, creating a sculpture trail which participants from the community can explore, experience and participate in.
Portal/Here and There is the second phase of this community project based in Shropshire funded through the Arts Council of England. I have been working with Forestry England on a sited artwork to celebrate the centenary of the Forestry Commission . Working both in Ludlow Town and in Mortimer Forest I have been collaborating with husband and film maker Peter Summers to create a series of films and sited works which have been hidden on and off paths and trails across the town and forest. The work will grow over the coming months and will see slip casting handles on a market stall and in the forest and works in Ludlow Castle, St Laurences Church and Mortimer Forest.
2019 has been a busy start with the installation of our new Portal project at the Museum of Royal Worcester. Following on from the success last year of Portal in South Shropshire we were commissioned by Meadow Arts and the Museum of Royal Worcester to create a new engagement project to celebrate the re-launch of the Royal Worcester Museum called The Precious Clay.
We have been working with a number of groups across Worcester including Worcester Live at Home Scheme, The Probation Service and also running a number of inter-generational workshops at the Museum.
The factory now gone, just a few of the original workers still demonstrate at the Museum, we were delighted to have the opportunity to watch Master Gilders and Painters, filming them as they work and telling their stories as part of the project.
The exhibition is now open and runs until the 20th March.
We have had a busy few months in the studio and also out and about around Ludlow, there have been lots of elements to bring together for this first showing at Ludlow Castle as well as artists talks and slip casting sessions at Ludlow Castle and around South Shropshire.
We have continued to film local people as part of this collaborative story telling project, the film elements have developed really well and actually we are now looking at how we can expand this alongside the ceramic elements of the project.
As with all projects, it seems that the possibilities are endless and that the selecting, sifting and placement of this collaborative work could morph and develop as the stories unfold, also this work has the ability to be viewed differently according to where the work is sited.
I have been delighted to be part of some of our local art events this year like the Ludlow Fringe Festival, we were part of series of events to support and develop artists. We were involved in a new artist talk series called Anatomy of an Artist at the Blue Boar with Letter Press artist Dulcie Fulton and illustrator and animator Sandra Salter in June.
I think in terms of our own artistic journey and professional development its great to take a pause and reflect on practice, the highs and lows as well as compare notes and ideas with other practitioners. We all came away recognising the need to find other ways to partner and support each others work.
We’ve just finished our first day shooting the first film for the Portal project. Poyners has been a clothing and milliners store for 150 years and is a Ludlow landmark for all that time. It was run by Jane Goodall, wife of Earnest Poyner, who was serving in the Army during WWI. She was a suffragette and philanthropist who transformed the town with her generosity.
Jean Parker and her lovely sister have worked at Poyners for 30 years carrying on Jane Goodall’s legacy and preserving the history of the shop, they told many stories and gave us a real insight into the community that exists in Ludlow and the very many stories behind the doors.