The photos below were taken over several weekly visits to Rowan, Cambridge, where I was invited to document sessions led by Abi Moore and Sarah Nibbs in the ceramics room. The aim was to capture artist led facilitation in a setting for adults with learning disabilities and see the students’ work progress over the course of a project.
Below, Abi and students describe how they made clay birds from a plaster mould.
By Abi Moore and Students at Rowan, Cambridge – photos by Sheila Ceccarelli (AccessArt)
Artist Abi Moore, one of the tutors in the ceramic room at Rowan, Cambridge
Below, students show how they made a collection of ceramic birds, from robins and dotterels to ducks using a plaster mould and coloured slip glazes to create individual and unique pieces.
Birds made with a mould by students at Rowan, Cambridge
Mark, student at Rowan, shares how he uses a mould to make a robin and a dotterel bird
A lot of stoneware clay and slip is used at Rowan, and any excess is reused!
Initially Mark pressed clay into the mould
And then rolled out clay
And pressed it into the mould
To create a neat and even layer of clay around the edge of the mould
Both halves of Mark’s mould
Mark painted slip onto the clay to join the two parts together
Mark had scored the clay on both halves of the mould before painting on the clay slip
Mark squeezes the two halves of the mould together
The closed mould
The open mould with the whole clay form, ready to be smoothed and made into a bird
Smoothed clay bird body from the same mould by Emma
Jenny uses a smaller mould to make a head for her duck
Jenny builds the neck for her duck with rolled clay for the head to sit on
Jenny now works on smoothing and joining the elements together with a kidney
Using a kidney to merge the head, neck and moulded body
Having smoothed her duck, Jenny paints coloured slip before firing her duck
Jenny’s duck following an initial biscuit firing
Abi talks to Mark about applying coloured slips to his Robin
Mark’s dotterel bird ready to apply coloured slip
Mark paints his dotterel bird
Painting in progress – Mark
Mark’s first robin glazed and ready to fire
Holes in the bottom of Mark’s robin ready for firing
The ceramics studio at Rowan, Cambridge
Many thanks to Abi Moore, Sarah Nibbs, students and staff at Rowan, Cambridge for opening their doors to AccessArt and sharing their ideas and processes.
‘Rowan is a Cambridge City based charity and arts centre that was established in 1984 to bring artists and learning-disabled people together in the production of fine artwork and crafts; while providing opportunities for self-expression and creative exploration.
Everyone contributes their own individual skills to each piece of artwork and this collaborative style of working gives rise to beautiful, high quality, unique works of art.’