Lucy Burscough

Digging for On Site Art Materials and Processing Whitworth Art Gallery Clay!

In Gallery/Museum Projects on 12/06/2013 at 20:09

In the heart of Manchester’s university quarter, the Whitworth Art Gallery is in the process of being transformed into a bigger, better and more beautiful cultural space for the 21st Century. It’s a really exciting redevelopment and extension of the city’s much loved institution which will be completed in the summer of 2014. The build is focused on creating an energy efficient, green building and embraces the University’s Green Pledge towards an ethos of embedded sustainability.  You can read all about it and see some behind the scenes photos here.

Of course, when a building is extended a lot of digging has to be done and that results in a happy byproduct: the uncovering of literally tonnes of very low impact, locally sourced, low carbon footprint, super clay! The Whitworth’s Learning and Engagement team have decided to not let this on-site resource go to waste and so plan to develop workshops with myself and a team of young entrepreneurs from Manchester Academy’s ‘Fresh Made Trade’ that use the clay to create products for selling in the gallery shop. What a great idea!

Lucy Burscough, Mark Slator & clay

Me and ISG’s Mark Slator, during a tour of the exciting new build. Mark is holding a lump of the freshly dug unprocessed clay.

The first stage of this project is to process the clay to a point that is is suitable for doing some test firings. As at this stage the amount of clay I’m processing is so small I didn’t use any specialist equipment. I have one of those houses that if you look for long enough, you’ll find what you need!

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Can’t wait for stage two when we’ll get to see what happens when we fire some test pieces!

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  1. I am so excited about the Whitworth clay and impressed with your method for processing the clay. Like you I am very interested to see the clay once it’s been fired. A truly organic process!

  2. […] Academy on a business enterprise project to design and create broaches and rings made from clay dug from the foundations of the gallery as it was being renovated? Well the new Whitworth Gallery has reopened to packed galleries and rave […]

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