Set up in 2018, the Middleton Hall art/pottery studio has gone from strength to strength in creating a space and opportunity for people to put their hand to becoming potters, with over 40 people showing an interest in the subject.
Many of the pieces of pottery/ceramic have been showcased in various exhibitions across Middleton Hall over the past four years but a permanent feature in the form of a ceramic garden is now under way.
Inspiration came from many different aspects and Waterside resident Joan Metcalfe told us “I’ve always enjoyed art and enjoy painting in oils, I find it very therapeutic. I started coming to the ceramics classes before lockdown and have just started again. I’ve found similar benefits to working with ceramics, the only difference is it’s more sociable, I can chat while I work…We decided to create a ceramic totem pole after watching them making one on Channel 4’s The Great Pottery Throw Down. We were all chatting and saying what a good idea it was so we thought, why don’t we have a go! I’ve made a cuboid to decorate which has quite a challenge after making bowls.”
Co-owners have also been involved in the project with work to show across the garden, Julie, a carer in Middleton Grove and once trained florist who ran a family floristry business in Sedgefield made a career move into care support work and joined the ceramics group a couple of months ago and takes part in her day off. Julie says she looks forward to the sessions all week: “I love it! It is so relaxing and I have grown to really enjoy it”
The ceramics group have been working closely with the estates team in order to ensure that the final product is enjoyed by all. The garden will feature around 80 pieces of ceramic such as tiles, plaques, sculptures and ceramic totem poles.