We are halfway through the first week of our residency in Stoke-on-Trent and new buds are beginning to blossom.
Yesterday, Stoke City Council granted us a return visit to the historic Wedgwood Institute just over the road from the Burslem School of Art. The two buildings face each other, red bricks flushed in an age-old stand off. Josiah himself stands proud above the door, stoically ignoring the sad state of Burslem’s decline and the pigeons’ industrious attempts to glaze the place in shit.
Roaming about, I found a hand-drawn map chronicling the closure of so many of the area’s potbanks. 200 years training to work at Tesco…
Last time we visited the Wedgwood Institute, we were part of a thirty-strong band of artists on a Rednile Factory Night, with torch light and whispers scratching around amongst the peeling paint. It felt safely surreal. This time we visited in daylight. We didn’t talk much as we planted several hundred bisque-fired bone china flowers on the stairs, across the floor, in between the pillars. We hunched over our work as they bloomed in the sunlight, looked round as a pigeon dropped into flight across the library.