|MOVING CLAY & FRIENDS was established
in 1996 as a self-help and support group by nine ceramic artists but
now includes artists working in all media and currently has around
thirty five members.
MOVING CLAY & FRIENDS can now mount exhibitions
and events covering a wide variety of media and techniques.
Through sponsorship MOVING CLAY & FRIENDS has secured a modular
exhibition stand and has the ability and equipment necessary to
set up a self-sufficient exhibition of members work and also to
provide a variety of accompanying demonstrations and hands-on workshops.
MOVING CLAY & FRIENDS has participated in various festivals
and artistic events including: Macclesfield in May Week; Macclesfield
Leisure Centre; Open Eye Exhibition, Knutsford Civic Centre: The
National Pottery & Ceramic Festival, Hatfield House, Hertfordshire;
The Southern Ceramic & Pottery Show, Farnham Maltings, Surrey;
Upfront Gallery, Penrith, Cumbria.
One of MOVING CLAY & FRIENDS' most exciting achievements was
the creation of the Macclesfield Art Shop in 1998. Working closely
with Macclesfield Borough Council and the Macclesfield Partnership
(a group of local business people), the group mounted a successful
three month long exhibition in an empty showroom in the town shopping
centre. In order for the event to become a reality it was necessary
to obtain various forms of sponsorship; to assist with the refurbishment
of the premises; to organise publicity; to generate awareness of
the event within the community and to provide materials for demonstrations
and workshops. MOVING CLAY & FRIENDS members staffed the exhibition
and provided a programme of workshops and daily demonstrations.
Over 16,000 people visited the exhibition and spontaneously expressed
their support, interest and pleasure that this event was happening
in their community. The number of visitors validated the event.
The Art Shop expressed one of the main objectives of MOVING CLAY
& FRIENDS, to establish a place for the arts within the community
by taking art work out into those places which are familiar to most
people and where most people feel at ease. By staffing the exhibitions
artists are able to talk to visitors about their work and hopefully
increase public awareness, understanding and encourage participation
in art activities. This is by no means a one-way communication,
artists thrive on the exchange of ideas and benefit greatly from
public response to their work.