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.
See also Making a Clay Bird from a Mould by students at Rowan, Cambridge.
By Abi Moore, Sarah Nibb and Students at Rowan, Cambridge – photos and documentation by Sheila Ceccarelli (AccessArt)
Clay owl, built using coiling by Peter from Rowan, Cambridge
Below, Abi, Sarah and students show how they made clay birds using clay coiling techniques and with a plaster mould for the birds’ bases.
Emma starts a bird using a clay mould and coiling
Several students made upright birds from penguins to Tweety Pie using a clay mould to make a base from which they built up vertically using coiling techniques.
A penguin by Mark, a student at Rowan
Students used plaster moulds to make bases for penguins by pressing small balls of clay in them and then smoothing to make a bowl form and then coiling upwards
Clay base still in the mould and the start of coiling upwards
Initial coil – building up
Emma scores the surface between each coil layer
Emma scores her coil ready for the next layer
Abi helps Emma build her bird up
Emma’s work area
Emma making progress – applying another coil to her emerging clay bird
In the mean time Janette has been working on her penguin and has made progress coiling upwards
Janette’s penguin is larger than the others and takes several weeks to complete
Janette then adds a head made from clay pressed into a mould (as the base)
And then smooths the clay with a wet sponge
Here Janette scores the clay ready for the beak
And with Abi’s help adds a beak
Janette and her penguin at Rowan, Cambridge
In the mean time Rosie, another Rowan student is working on her Tweety Pie.
Rosie works on initial shaping of Tweety Pie with clay coils
Emerging Tweety Pie
Rosie scores her clay coil before applying the next coil layer and builds up Tweety Pie
Rosie’s Tweety Pie beginning to take shape
Once Rosie is happy with Tweety’s form, she uses a wet sponge to smooth the clay
Smoothing the clay with a wet sponge
Abi helps Rosie attache Tweety’s feet to his body
Rosie scores the bottom of Tweety’s body to attach him to his feet
Tweety Pie taking shape!
Tweety Pie waits for final features and finishing touches
Peter works on his owl built using clay coiling techniques and now smoothing with a kidney
Peter then spends a considerable amount of time working on detail and texture on his owl
Peter then paints his own with coloured slips before first firing
Painted owl – by Peter
Mark paints his penguin with slip glaze
Mark’s painted penguin ready to fire
Last but not least – Chris makes a Dalek – Not a penguin!
Chris expresses the joy of making!
Chris in the ceramics room at Rowan, Cambridge
Chris wanted to make a Dalek!
His initial attempt got rather big and ended up being a bowl!
But Chris did not get disheartened and the top of the Dalek became the base – Chris gets to work again
Chris’s Dalek base and work starting on the Dalek body using a plaster mould and coiling
Chris builds the Dalek
With a bit of help from Sarah
After several weeks of work, Chris puts finishing touches on his Dalek!
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.’