I-SPY artwork at Marchmont Street Community Garden
We are pleased to announce that the I–SPY artwork for the award-winning Marchmont Street Community Garden has finally been installed and can be seen anytime by the public during daylight hours. The garden, run by wonderful and passionate volunteers, is situated at the end of the Brunswick Centre behind Waitrose.
During the Bloomsbury Festival of 2013, we ran a two-day ceramic printing workshop outside the garden with the public. Using the leaves of the garden as an identification tool for each plant, we invited the public to impress them in tiles and splash coloured slip over the top. As you can see from the photos, it was a great success and the tiles have come out great! Thank you to everyone who got involved, including festival visitors, local residents, students and garden volunteers. A special thank you to Ricci and Roz for all their support on the weekend and with the installation of the final artwork.
Hidden Language Hidden Trails
Hidden Language, Hidden Trails is a new way of experiencing Dorchester.
Parasite Ceramics have turned back the clocks and placed them all around the town centre for you to seek out during a visit to the town. There are six trails to look out for; Nature, Food & Drink, Street Language, Art & Literature, Body & Mind and Haunted History.
Each clock contains a word taken from A Glossary of the Dorset Dialect, written by William Barnes, as well as visual references to the local history and area, personal memories collected from residents. Each clock contains an embedded code that can be scanned by any smartphone and will direct it to the website with information about the project, including the glossary and the maps for each trail. Software by Aestheticodes.
Walking Distance Dorchester
We have been working closely with the Dorchester Business Improvement District (DBID) to enhance the walking experience through central Dorchester. The project is supported by the Arts Council England, and managed by Ginkgo Projects ltd. It is a passionate, bustling market town, surrounded by green pastures, and with a strong sense of its heritage and place in England’s history. Early prehistoric and anglo-saxon settlements have been discovered nearby and the remains of a large, walled roman town have proven that Dorchester has always been an important municipality and trading post for Dorset and beyond. It is said to have the longest continuous stretch of listed buildings in the country and this sense of preservation runs through the very heart of the town and its people.
We’ve really enjoyed getting to know the people of Dorchester past and present. We’ve been on walks with local families, strollers and the town crier, been entertained with stories of ghosts and past mysteries, and had our coffee habit sustained by the numerous and wonderful coffee shops dotted around the town. Dorchester’s most famous son, Thomas Hardy, set many of his novels and short stories in the town, and his friend and mentor, William Barnes, penned his pastoral poetry in the Dorset dialect. We’ve taken inspiration from his poems and in particular, The Year Clock, a poem about the passing of the seasons. Its rhyming couplets were printed on unique bone china candleholders and given to the public in exchange for a personal memory of Dorchester. The temporary art installation during the Winter Solstice of 2012 concluded the research and engagement phase and we are looking forward to developing further works that reveal the hidden and unheralded narratives of this beautiful Dorset town.
British Ceramics Biennial 2013
This Autumn Simeon Featherstone was selected as artist into industry with Johnson Tiles for the British Ceramics Biennial. The festival ran from September through to November at the Spode Works in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent, the historic ceramic factory that now sits vacant as the world famous brand name has declined. Exploring the historical link between industry, education and the workforce, Simeon created the Pavilion Institute, a recreation of the Victorian institutes established throughout Stoke during the Industrial Revolution and built on the ideals of civic enlightenment. The Wedgwood Memorial Institute in Burslem is one example of these buildings, a highly decorative terracotta and red brick monument, its purpose was to widen access to skills and knowledge for the burgeoning industrial classes. Sadly, the building has been empty for a number of years and is declared too dangerous to keep open, a sad metaphor for a city that bears the scars of its industrial past.
Working with Johnson Tiles and the British Ceramics Biennial proved to be an enriching experience and showed that there are lots of positive things ahead for the ceramics industry and for Stoke in the future. Johnson Tiles have shown a strong commitment to working artists and designers with a broad portfolio of projects and this was heartening to see. With new printing technologies at his disposal, Simeon created a series of tiles that reflected the importance of both the machine and the hand. As technology advances, and becomes more available, the appreciation of traditional skills such as china painting mustn’t diminish. The Burslem China Painters, the only china painting class left in Stoke, were invited to create a series of plates with their own interpretations of the tile industry, this being a reversal of the usual process of reproducing original hand painted decorations. The Pavilion Institute also included audio of a career spent in china painting and gave an insight into working in Spode, Royal Doultons and beyond.
Pulped Fiction at Bloomsbury Festival
Parasite Ceramics ventured into the field of the written word and found it to be a wonderful and heartwarming experience. We knew that Bloomsbury was full of great literary writers from the past, but we wanted to hear from aspiring writers from the present, with new perspectives of the local area.
We were really impressed with the response we received from local residents who signed up for our creative writing workshops, with new characters created and familiar places reimagined. We were also pleased that the outcomes were so varied, from science fiction and historical fiction to thrillers. We were so pleased in fact, that we immediately destroyed all their original scripts, and pulped it into clay. Their words were transformed into paper clay tiles and the text transferred back onto the surface.
We also used the paper clay to cut out small scenes that reflected the origins of their work, Dickens’ Bleak House, and memories from a reminiscence group at the Holborn Community Association. This was all housed in our pop-up studio at the Bloomsbury Festival, with new visitors interacting with the multiple narratives on display throughout the whole weekend.
For more information about Bloomsbury Festival please visit Festival website.
Creative Ceramics workshop at The British Museum
Parasite Ceramics spent a very enjoyable day in the belly of the British Museum teaching a creative ceramic workshop. As part of a programme for the Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, the wonderfully curated and crafted exhibition by Grayson Perry, we explored the themes of personal journeys, personalities and culture. Participants slip-cast, white earthenware cups and decorated them with coloured slips to create elements that revealed personal narratives, just like Grayson Perry uses on his own pots. And of course, the workshop could not be a success without the omnipresent Alan Measles, Grayson’s childhood teddy bear. Participants had the opportunity to make their very own ceramic teddy bear and enter into the eccentric world of the artist and his musings.
Images by Benedict Johnson
Seven Lamps of Brunswick Square
For Bloomsbury Festival 2011 we created a bone china installation high up in a tree of Brunswick Square. The artwork uses the text, “The Seven Lamps of Architecture” by John Ruskin, as a starting point, for revealing the many stories in the local area. Ruskin, born on Hunter Street beside Brunswick Square, wrote the critical essay to establish the basic principles necessary in architecture as conceived by the human spirit. Principles of Sacrifice, Truth, Power, Beauty, Memory, Life and Obedience.
We have recontextualised Ruskin’s seven principles as narratives that signify the life of Brunswick Square; the story of Queen Caroline of Brunswick and the children of Foundling Hospital are some examples. Each of the seven stories will be represented by an object and hung in clusters from a tree in the North-West corner of the square.
For more information about Bloomsbury Festival please visit Festival website.
We took up a craft residency in Hurst Green, Surrey with the Arts Council funded project, Making Surrey. It is a land of green pastures and lovely people who have all gone out of their way to support the work we have put in so far. Larger than a village, but not quite a town, Hurst Green lacks in things we at Parasite take for granted, such as coffee shops, banks, and marketplaces. But it makes this up in a strong community environment involving the churches, youth partnerships and local schools. We believe it is a healthy, thriving place full of ideas and action. We tought residents of all ages to make clay artworks that would benefit the community in some way.
For more information on our work in Hurst Green, and the wider Making Surrey project, please follow http://makingsurrey.wordpress.com
We collaborated with Cuckoo’s Bakery, a cupcake and tearoom outlet, to create a new range of tableware inspired by their local surroundings in beautiful Edinburgh. Our relationship started from the moment the business was conceived and were able to offer our expertise to create a unique visual identity for the business. From the logo to the teapot to the cafe interior, we have helped support their wish of offering customers something traditional, yet refreshingly different. You can see the collection here on SHOP section our website or go one better and see it all for yourself at the Cuckoo’s Bakery, 150 Dundas Street, Edinburgh. We can assure you the cupcakes are amazing too, we should know, we’ve eaten loads of them for research.
For more information please visit their website: www.cuckoosbakery.co.uk
Photography by Sam Ashley
Market Estate Project
Parasite Ceramics participated in the Market Estate Project, a one-day event run by Tall Tales to celebrate the community of the Market Estate housing estate before the site was to be demolished. All special edition tableware sold out within hours and our continually changing bone china installation of cast net curtains offered tiles for free to the public with the chance to win free items through the postcode lottery, an opportunity for visitors to receive bone china products from our pop-up stall.