Special screening of Isaac Button Country Potter

We are showing the beautiful, evocative film Isaac Button Country Potter at a special film night at Dean Clough, Halifax on Wednesday 23rd November 2016 – starting at 7.30 PM (gathering around 7 PM)….. Filmed between 1964 and 1965 by John Anderson and Robert Fournier, we will be showing the full film in best digital format, on loan from the Yorkshire Film Archive. It should be a great evening, with John Hudson a potter from Mirfield (with huge knowledge and experience of the local ceramic traditions in the area – and beyond), coming along to say a few words and a chance for those gathered to share their own stories / connections. We have invited artists, potters, farmers, teachers / headteachers, lecturers, bakers, archaeologists….. hoping they will come along to explore the links between them all on the night.

RSVP please to let us know how many might be coming along – rbrakspear@phonecoop.coop

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Button brick (from Soil Hill) with details of film night……

Lost and Found show open at Dean Clough, Halifax….. and don’t miss the Isaac Button Film night!

Thanks to everyone who came along to Dean Clough in Halifax for the opening of the Autumn / Winter shows – including my show in the Link Gallery; Lost and Found (which now runs through to January 22nd 2017). It was great to see many of the people who helped me with the project; Mick – who let me dig his clay, Aaron and Victoria – who let me photograph their favourite baking bowl, John – whose knowledge for ceramics / pots and their uses over time with a connection to food is an inspiration……. It was great to have family and friends there (thanks for making the journey you all). I am also very grateful to Vic Allen at Dean Clough for giving me the opportunity at DC and to the Yorkshire Film Archive (YFA) for agreeing to lease me the wonderful Isaac Button photographs taken by John Anderson in 1964…..

And on this…. We are hosting a film night on Wednesday 23rd November (7.30 pm) to show Isaac Button Country Potter by John Anderson and Robert Fournier (1965), which we have also leased from the YFA – who have been incredibly helpful and supportive to this end. If you would like to come along – do let us know.

Letter key for Palimpsest – Soil Hill, photograph in MA show:

A:     Ovendon Moor – Rough Rock Sandstone (Carboniferous era, c. 313 to 314 million years BP) covered by peat deposits (formed since last ice-age) and heather moorland

B:     Original Penine Lower Coal Measures Formation mudstone (Carboniferous era, c. 312-313) and Middle Band Sandstone (Carboniferous era, c.312-313 million years BP) layers much of which was removed by clay extraction, now “landscaped” and covered with surface soil and unimproved grassland

C:     Hebble Brook, stream cut valley (post-glacial) with semi-natural ancient woodland above Ogden Reservoir

D:     Possible route of Roman road through Causeway Foot. This road from Halifax to Denholm, now the A629, passes through Causeway Foot and is recorded on earliest OS map of 1851. The Roman Road M720a running from Ilkley to Manchester crosses this road just north of Ogden (it is not marked on the current OS map but is clearly marked on the 1st Edition OS map from 1847-9).

E:      Penine Lower Coal Measures Formation mudstone (Carboniferous era, c. 312-313 million years BP) covered by surface soil, and the pattern of enclosed fields and improved grassland established in the early 19th Century

F:     Curving linear feature – perhaps demarking the Parish boundary which follows this line on the 1847-9 OS map, or part of the more recent landscaping work. Originally interpreted as a leet carrying water to the pottery

G:     Domestic and industrial developments (19th Century) along Coal Lane adjacent to Soil Hill Pottery works (originally Swilling End Pottery – now in conversion to residential. Soil Hill is referred to as Swilling Hill on the early edition OS maps.

H:     Coniferous plantation at Mount Pleasant (20th Century)

I:       Telegraph poles (Mid 20th Century)

J:      Wind farm (21st Century) above deciduous broadleaf woodland running alongside south bank of Ogden Clough down to Ogden Water. The wind farm in this picture has been removed (2016) and a new wind farm of a smaller number of much larger windmills / turbines is being erected (October 2016)

K:     Landfill site – now closed (21st Century).

Note: BP is Before Present.

Landscapes and clay:

Over the last year, my exploration of landscape – specifically linked to places of extraction (of clay, rocks and minerals linked to ceramic manufacture) and / or  production (i.e. the sites of potteries / workshops etc.), has led me back to the concept of palimpsest. The essence of this idea, can be summarized as a surface scraped clean – to be used again, originally relating to the historic re-use of vellum (an ancient material for the production of books), which in the Medieval period was in short supply.

The concept has been translated to a way of viewing landscape by W.G. Hoskins, in his seminal work The Making of the English Landscape (1970) in which he illustrated how palimpsest could be used to describe the landscape itself, as a series of cumulative layers, holding evidence of human activity and a patchwork of clues that could be used to understand changes in human society and economy, and our relationship with the natural environment. My intention was to place this concept centrally in the last creative part of the MA.

Photographs for the MA will go on show for assessment on the 26th January in the basement gallery at Corsham Court. It is not a public show – as our MA Show is booked in to tie in with other MA shows at the School of Art and Design at Sion Hill on the 23rd September. They will also go on show as part of my first public exhibition in the Autumn at Dean Clough, Halifax, which has just been confirmed….(more to follow). The photograph of Titterstone Clee Hill, shown below follows the line of enquiry introduced above. Layers and features are highlighted, but the exact nature, background, detail of these – is another story….

Ref: W, G. Hoskins (1970) The Making of the English Landscape. Penguin.

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Towards the summit plateau of Titterstone Clee Hill, Shropshire – 2015