MAKERS FESTIVAL – A Weekend of Talks & Workshops


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Making and Learning for the Whole Family
Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 April 2017
Come and experience first hand the joy of working with clay and listen to and learn from the masters of this art and those who study it. Workshops will include a potter’s wheel, Raku, playing with clay for adults and children, creating a clay portrait and making a clay coral reef.  We are also incredibly excited to welcome the BBC’s GREAT POTTERY THROW DOWN finalist Clover Lee to the Makers Weekend.
Gallery talks will be held throughout both days, more details below.

Festival image 2Why not make a day of it, there will be artisan food and drink courtesy of Pizzarova, Yummy Days, Le Cafe Creme as well as our own cafe and bar.

Plenty to do for adults and children alike.  Plan your bank holiday Makers Weekend activities here: 


Makers Weekend Timetable






Finn_Bush_Clay Portraiture_WorkshopCLAY PORTRAITURE: with Finn Bush
Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 April, 11 – 1pm & 2 – 4pm, suitable age 12+
£40 in advance  Booking
Clay in its amazing versatility offers the boundless possibilities of the human imagination in all dimensions.  Whilst taught to create a portrait following the everyday features and contours of the human face your wish might be to arrive somewhere more expressive and unexpected with your sculpture.   Both the classical and creative are catered for using self drying clay…read more



RAKU: with Des AlnerScan0020
Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 April
Hourly from 10:30 – 3:30pm, suitable for age 10+
£25 in advance  Booking
The Term Raku refers to a technique which originated in Japan in the 16th Century where small bowls were made for the Tea ceremony. During the process of firing the clay piece is removed from the kiln at approximately 1000 degrees C and plunged into a combustible material (e.g. sawdust). This creates special glaze effects and then it is fast cooled by immersion in water.
Raku was part of the Zen tradition where both “Nature and Chance” are put together.
“Fire” is the essential ingredient in this whole process where clay is transformed into pottery and glazes can become molten.
Raku also can be interpreted as meaning “enjoyment’ so today the technique has become a popular and exciting channel of more expressive and spontaneous work for potters.



Clay-is-play-workshop-Sandy-BrownCREATIVITY IS PLAY: weekend workshop with Sandy Brown
Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 April, 11 – 4pm
This class is suitable for age 16+
£150 in advance  Booking
“The object of this course is to liberate the creative spirit.  Through play and feeling free you will find that you can be creative without really trying. You will see that being creative is as natural as breathing. It is part of us, as long as we don’t stifle it, which we often do.” Sandy Brown
Sandy Brown is a leading Ceramic artist, whose work encapsulates the extraordinary vitality of the making process in one of our oldst materials, Clay.
Her courses are a very special opportunity to explore the creative powers within us individually. A not to be missed course in the Festival.
There are only limited spaces available on this course which runs over two days. Lunch, drinks and all materials are included in the booking price. If you are travelling from London it is possible to journey there and back at the beginning and end of the course.



THE POTTERS WHEEL: with Julie AytonJulie_Ayton-The_Potters_Wheel
Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 April 2017
Hour long workshops throughout the weekend, suitable for age 8+
£50 + booking feBooking
Seeing pots made on the wheel is endlessly fascinating. With a few passes of expert hands, clay seems to defy gravity as it metamorphoses from lifeless lump to finished form.
Join in the afternoons for short Pitch and play sessions of 15 minutes to experience using a clay on a wheel, tickets only available on the day at reception.
Or book in a for a one to one hour long course to really explore and enjoy the making process.
Taught by distinguished potter Julie Ayton.



Clay_Play_with_Vanessa_ConyersCLAY PLAY: with Vanessa Conyers
Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 April
Every hour from 10:30 – 3:30pm, suitable for all ages
£10 in advance  Booking
Take a ball of clay and let your imaginations run wild as you create messy masterpieces at the Messums Wiltshire makers weekend! From sculptures to tiles or whether it’s a character from your favorite story or even a plaque for your bedroom door, our workshops are just the ticket for a day of relaxed clay adventures!
Messy hands (and faces) will have the opportunity to make and paint tiles and sculptures through out the weekend which they can leave with us to dry and then pick up when it’s time to go home. We have tools, stamps and plenty of brightly coloured paints to make young creations spring to life!
We look forward to seeing where your imagination takes you!



MAKE A CORAL REEF:  with Mel CoughlanCoral_reef_Mel_Coughlan
Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 April
Every hour from 10:30 – 3:30pm, suitable for age 5+
£15 in advance  Booking
Buried deep underneath Tisbury is a magnificent Jurassic star coral bed -Starred Agate. In this workshop you will make your own star coral using a plaster filled clay thumb pot – one of the earliest forms of pot making. Using modeling tools and small everyday objects transform the inside of the pot into a highly textured surface to your own design. Then fill with plaster and leave to set. The clay pot mould can be peeled off to reveal the coral star created.




Clover_Lee (events page thumbnail)THE GREAT POTTERY THROW DOWN:  Clover Lee
Saturday 29 April 2017, 12:30pm  Booking
We are delighted to welcome the BBC’s GREAT POTTERY THROW DOWN finalist and part time illustrator Clover Lee to a unique 50 minute session on our wheel as part of the Makers Festival. Join, watch, learn and ask questions as Great Britain’s leading potter Clover Lee take you through the experiences and steps for creating beautiful vessels on the wheel.
Clover Lee was born in a small town in southern China – and moved to Wales in 2003, to study accountancy.
The 33-year-old moved to London after graduating, and her interest was pricked when Clover attended an evening class at Clapham Pottery in 2011.
Clover is proud of her Asian heritage and creates a mixture of functional and stunning items – such as bonsai planters, decorative vases, sake sets, mugs and tableware.
She says she is “inspired by the traditional art and culture of China and Japan”.
As well as pottery, Clover is a self-taught illustrator.
She has been practising manga drawing, an Asian-style comic similar to anime, from the age of 12.
Clover also regularly attends comic conventions around the UK.


A SCULPTOR AT WORKDSC_0004_7 (Events thumbnail)
Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 April 2017
Talk at 11:00am each day followed by a demonstration, open to all
We are delighted to have local sculptors from Coade Ltd with us for the Makers Weekend.  There will be a talk open to all at 11:00am each day followed by a demonstration of how they work that will continue throughout the day.
At COADE the team of highly skilled craftsmen recreate classical sculpture, contemporary pieces and private commissions in Coade stone. Created from stoneware using a secret recipe and then fired at a very high heat, Coade stone makes it possible to produce sculpture with the finest detail that is also incredibly durable and has the appearance of stone.
First developed in the 18th Century by Eleanor Coade, a highly successful businesswoman of her time, she was employed by every eminent architect of her day. Her work can be found in all parts of the British Isles and has been exported around the world. Because Coade stone is remarkably resistant to the harshest weather, most of her pieces are in as good condition now as when they were first made over two hundred years ago.




Christie Brown_The Uncanny Playroom, 2010_Photo Credit Sussie Ahlberg 2 (ceramics show page)THE PLEASURE OF MAKING: Symbolism to Ritual
Saturday 29 April, 4 – 5pm
£10 in advance, £15 on the door  Booking
Leading contemporary artist in clay Christie Brown and Curator Catherine Milner discuss the mythology and symbolism of clay and the making process.

Christie Brown is an artist and Emerita Professor of Ceramics at the University of Westminster in London. She was Principal Investigator on the AHRC project Ceramics in the Expanded Field, awarded to the University’s Ceramics Research Centre in 2011, which included her solo exhibition DreamWork at the Freud Museum in London in 2013.
She has exhibited her ceramic sculpture widely in the UK and abroad and frequently lectured about her practice at international residencies and conferences.

Catherine Milner has worked in the international art world for more than twenty years. Formerly Arts Correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, she now regularly contributes articles about art to a number of publications including the Financial Times, the Economist and Apollo Magazine.
Having studied Fine Art at Edinburgh University her first job was working for the Barbican Art Gallery. She has since specialised in contemporary British art and was one of the first to write about the Young British Artist group in the early 1990s. Since then she has focused on contemporary Middle Eastern art and traveled extensively throughout the region. She has also recently started taking small groups of collectors to artists studios, exhibitions, art biennales and art fairs around the world.


ART IN EDUCATION:  The Value of CreativityArt in Education
Saturday 29 April, 2 – 3pm
£10 in advance, £15 on the door  Booking
Felicity Aylieff Senior Tutor in Ceramics at the Royal College of Art, Andrew Proctor Arts Council Relationship Manager South West and Lisa Hammond Trustee of The Clay College In Stoke on Trent discuss the role of making and creativity in the Educational system, where it currently stands, why it matters and where it is going.
Chaired by Johnny Messum



Collecting ceramics April 29MAKING A COLLECTION:  Abstraction in Clay
Saturday 29th April, 11:00 – 12pm
£10 in advance, £15 on the doorBooking
We are delighted to welcome Anthony Shaw, founder of The Anthony Shaw Collection and Joanna Bird, consultant curator to Material: Earth to discuss Anthony’s collection which is on long term loan to CoCA, York Museums Trust. It is one of Britain’s most important private collections of modern studio ceramics. A major holding of over 1200 works by some eighty artists acquired over 44 years. Within it there are important works by Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, Sara Radstone, Ewen Henderson, Gordon Baldwin and Gillian Lowndes amongst others. A couturier, Anthony has traveled widely from his early childhood, educated by these experiences he appreciates ceramics as Art and has developed a very personal aesthetic.
Joanna Bird originally trained as a potter for three years with Michael Cardew and practiced in her own right, before setting up a contemporary ceramics gallery in 1994. Amongst other exhibitions she curated a ‘life specific’ exhibition, Marking the line, Ceramics and Architecture, the subject of which was Sir John Soane. Joanna is founder of The Joanna Bird Foundation with a mission to support emerging talents in the decorative arts.
They will be talking about how the collection came about, specific influences, where is has been housed and how Anthony has engaged with its development.


ENDURING LEGACY OF THE POT: with Julian StairEnduring Legacy of the Pot
Sunday 30 April, 11 – 12pm
£10 in advance, £15 on the doorBooking
With multiple publications to his name, including co author with Christie Brown on “Contemporary Clay, Museum Culture” (Routledge 2016) Julian Stair’s is a formidable knowledge on the history, symbolism and narrative of clay’s iconic form.
We are delighted to welcome Julian to Messums Wiltshire as exhibitor and lecturer. This talk is a must for both those with in depth knowledge as well as those who are coming to the subject for the first time.
The talk will run for approx 45 minutes with a question and answer session to follow…read more


Contemporary CeramicsCONTEMPORARY CERAMICS: Is It Art Is It Craft, Does It Matter?  With Paul Greenhalgh
Sunday 30th, 2:00pm – 3:00pm
£10 in advance, £15 on the door Booking
Leading Academic and thinking Professor Paul Greenhalgh leads us through some of the past and present thinking and what this might tell us about the future.
Professor Paul Greenhalgh is director of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, a position he has held since 2010. He was educated at Smithills Grammar School in Bolton, the University of Reading and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. From 2006 to 2010 he was director and president of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C. He has also been Head of Research, and Deputy Keeper of Ceramic at the Victoria and Albert Museum…read more










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