Friday 26 February 2016

Object Identity: The final workshops

Design collaboration with Charlie

This is the final blog post of my collaboration with Emmaus Mossley (read the others here and here). I will update you on the workshops we undertook since the last post and provide a general overview of the successes we have had over the last two months.

At the start of this project our negotiated brief was ‘to produce a series of objects that deal with and express the identity of Emmaus companions’ but I think the project has done much more than that.

Since the last blog post we have undertaken two pairs of workshops. The first workshop was based around ceramic transfers and the production of ceramic tiles from broken tableware. Following the writing session, I took much of the written information as narrative and used it to create ceramic transfers which could be applied directly to ceramics. One half of this workshop was working with the companions to apply these transfers to shards of broken ceramics. Emmaus has an abundance of these chipped and broken ceramics that are donated by the public but are completely unsalable. After firing we used some of the transferred shards as well as some plain shards to construct mosaic tiles. This process provided a simple way for us to add layers of meaning placing phrases such as “Chubsters cafe” and “meeting place” next to one another. The workshop required more skilled processes and creative thinking than in the previous ones but was still fast paced and provided fairly quick results.

The last set of workshops was throwing and applying transfers to three dimensional thrown objects. This was the most complicated in terms of the skill set and time required. In the first session I brought in my throwing wheel on which myself and the companions attempted to throw a series of pots. Throwing is an incredibly difficult process to master but in the session I was more interested in the companion’s experimenting and getting hands on. This led to the next half of the workshop which was once again using transfers but this time applying them to hand thrown pots that I had prepared. Having already worked with the wheel, the companions could now appreciate the process that had already been undertaken to produce the pots. We applied some wording but focused on the use of photographs taken by the companions on the disposable camera but also from their phones and personal collections. This once again allowed them to build up narratives through the placement of transfers.

Looking back over the project I am very proud of the work we have produced, but more so of the workshops that have hopefully provided engaging and fulfilling creative activities for the companions to consider and express themselves through making. Through interviews with the staff and companions at Emmaus I have heard of the positive affects the workshops have had on the community. This has been a major encouragement for me to continue community based work in the future. I am glad to have worked mainly in materials in abundance at Emmaus, leaving the door open if the companions wanted to continue producing similar work.

Finally, this project has been an incredibly rewarding experience personally, it has developed my skills in teaching and collaborating with others, taught me a lot about organising and managing time as well as costings but more than anything it has been a fun and fulfilling experience and I will definitely be back at Emmaus Mossley soon!

Many thanks for reading,

Charlie Manthorp

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