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Inspired by Wedgwood

24 June 2015 by Ann

In her latest blog behind the scenes at the Lady Lever Art Gallery South End redevelopment project Angelica Vanasse gives us an insight in to her work with local schools and explains how their input will form part of the new displays opening in Spring 2016.

Marie Canning working with a student from Prenton High School for Girls

Marie Canning working with a student from Prenton High School for Girls

The South End development project at the Lady Lever Art Gallery isn’t just about the incredible restoration and conservation of the galleries, but also about developing relationships with local schools and community groups. As part of the project, year 10 students from Prenton High School for Girls recently reinterpreted Wedgwood pottery from the Gallery’s collections in the form of miniature porcelain sculptures. Their tiny creations will be used as part of the new displays in the South End, bringing a fresh perspective to our displays when they reopen next year. 

Delicate work, forming ceramic petals from clay

Delicate work, forming ceramic petals from clay

Gathering ideas from the iconic Wedgwood pottery in the Gallery’s collections as well as inspiration from contemporary ceramic artist Marie Canning the students learned hand building techniques in miniature – and it was a lot harder than it looked! Shaping tiny petals, flowers, coils, and leaves took a bit of practice but the students quickly picked it up and created beautifully intricate designs in clay. Artist Marie was on hand to show us her work and techniques for hand building. Learning how to make tiny roses was a highlight, as well as adding a bit of Wedgwood inspired colour with pastel glazes.
Feedback from the students and their art teacher Gemma Churton was overwhelmingly positive, with Gemma saying:

“…the sessions with visiting artist Marie Canning were absolutely wonderful. They provided the girls an opportunity to work with porcelain, which is something they would not usually experience at school, and gain a set of new skills. Working with a practising artist inspired and enlightened them. It was fantastic for them to visit the Wedgwood collection at the Lady Lever Art Gallery to provide inspiration and context for their own designs. “

Final artworks by students from Prenton High School for Girls showing delicate floral designs

Final ceramic works by students from Prenton High School for Girls

Marie also had great things to say about working with the students:

“Having always been inspired by the innovative techniques and decorative style of Wedgwood ceramics, I was delighted to be asked to work on the project with the students at Prenton High School for Girls. Working with the students was a wonderful experience and a joy to witness. I hope it was as fruitful experience for them as it was for me.”

To find out more about the South End development project, view the plans in Room 24 at the Gallery, which is open daily from 10am to 5pm or visit the website.

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