A pottery for wellbeing exhibition in Stockport – June 29th – 16:00 on September 28th 2019 (closed during August)

The Pottery Pioneers project was designed by Arc to explore the impact of ceramics on the wellbeing of vulnerable people in Stockport and will culminate in a gallery exhibition opening from 11:00-15:30 on Saturday June 29th with a special pottery-themed Art Club. It will tell the story of the participants’ and the volunteer team’s journeys and celebrate the power of pottery and the impact it can have on mental health.

The installation of a ceramics studio and 2 large kilns at Arc Centre and Gallery allowed Arc’s team to offer clay-related public workshops, courses and family activities. Once the studio had gained some momentum, Jacqui Wood, Arc’s artistic director was keen to seek Awards for All funding to explore outreach pottery sessions for school children, wellbeing sessions for vulnerable adults and a training programme of various skills for a volunteer team of Pottery Pioneers.

“At Arc, we are keen to share the fun of clay work and every week we see first-hand exactly how this fascinating, tactile medium can improve mental health and wellbeing.” -Jeni Jacques-Williams, lead artist

Participation in the arts and social interaction can increase health and wellbeing for people of any age, and with a number of 6-week “Introduction to Pottery” projects, we targeted different sections of society from infant and junior school children, teenagers at a Pupil Referral Unit and adults who had been socially prescribed a ceramics course by their GP.

It was surprising how quickly the skills and understanding of all the students developed and their recall of clay processes and terminology was excellent enabling us to quickly build upon the skills we were gaining each week to produce more complex forms than  expected.
Feedback from the children revealed that 46% felt their mood improved from ‘average’ to ‘happy’ during the first session. At the end of every session (with the exception of 1 child on 1 day) all of the Key Stage 2 children recorded that they felt ‘happy’.

“It’s very exciting. I wait all week for this.”

-KS2 participant young person

The final programme of work was delivered to 9 adult patients from Alvanley Family Practice. The theme for the project was nature.  During the first week the students worked on a sculpture and each created a bird, after this session the focus moved to creating items together as a group that would be donated to the community allotment and the final group piece was to create a stunning bird bath.

“I have really enjoyed coming to the group, it has given me something to look forward to which has improved my mood.” -participant feedback

The exhibition will open on June 29th 11:00-15:30 and continues Weds-Fri until 15:30 at the end of the Saturday Art Club on July 27th 2019 when the centre closes for August, reopening to the public at 10:00 on September 4th. The exhibition will then be open until 16:00 September 28th, after which the centre will permanently close. See the visitor page for art gallery opening information.