Earlier this year Tees Valley Arts worked with River Tees Re-discovered to provide artistic engagement at the “Welcome Aboard” community launches held in Middlesbrough, Darlington, Stockton, Hartlepool and Redcar.
Just shy of 300 people made plates and took there home and now we’re asking you to tell the story of the plate you made or have been given by sending us a photo via social media using the #myblueandwhite:
Working with Middlesbrough born artist Emily Hesse, regular Tees Valley Arts contributor and artist Adrian Moule, we facilitated a collaboration that created the River Tees Rediscovered Willow Pattern Plate engagement.
By reflecting on the long history of pottery production in the Tees Valley and, in particular, its instrumental role in the development of Middlesbrough as a town through the establishment of the Middlesbrough Pottery in 1831. We provided the means to create an artistic intervention that would enable people to both express themselves and create something intrinsically useful.
The Willow Pattern is a distinctive and elaborate pattern developed by Thomas Minton in around 1790 and was an English imitation of Chinese porcelain imported during the mid-eighteenth century. Mostly blue and white, though other colours were used, it always featured both a river, a bridge and a person.
Examples of the pottery, with the willow pattern, produced by Middlesbrough Pottery are important enough to be included in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum:
Emily and Adrian wanted people to realise their memories, their vision, their thoughts of the river, whilst creating something they could take home and eat off.
We were fortunate enough to have a genuine Middlesbrough Pottery plate on hand to give inspiration to the participants thanks to the generous support of project volunteer James Beighton, former senior curator of mima and ceramics expert, who is currently undertaking a AHRC funded PhD at Teesside University.
Participants were encouraged to draw out their ideas on paper with printed circles, with photographs of plates made earlier by Emily and Adrian to use for inspiration before going on to mark their own plate with porcelain paint pens:
Couldn’t Make It? See what we got up to:
Roll on the launch in South Park, Darlington, this Sunday, 11-3, where we hope to better our engagement numbers and let people think and realise their vision of the river in blue and white.
Ropner Park, Stockton / Saturday 28th February, 11-3pm;
Ward Jackson Park, Hartlepool / Saturday 14th March, 11-3pm