Platform Gallery 2016 Exhibition and Event Programme

Platform Gallery Matthew Wilcock at work in the studio npa 2016

Clay Collective

in collaboration with the Northern Potters Association

23 July – 8 October 2016

Join us at the Platform Gallery in a celebration of clay and collective making this summer!

The Northern Potters Association (NPA) encourages and supports artists in the production of sculptural, functional, fine art and decorative studio pottery in all its forms throughout the North of England.  Members are involved in the making of a wide range of works as students, hobbyists, professional makers, gallery owners and collectors, and all have an enthusiasm for clay.

Clay Collective showcases contemporary ceramics made by this increasingly diverse and dynamic regional network. The Platform has hosted many of them individually over the years, so we are pleased to celebrate them together for the first time as a collective. Visitors will be able to purchase the exhibits, helping to support this grouping of craft talent living in the North West.

We’re thrilled that NPA member and winner of the BBC’s The Great British Pottery Throw Down Matthew Wilcock has kindly lent us the programme’s trophy, thrown and decorated by the programme’s judges Keith Brymer Jones and Kate Malone. 

Matt will be officially opening the exhibition for us at 12.00 on Saturday 23 July 2016. 

Come join us as we celebrate the power of making things in clay, and the joy in making craft together.

The Platform Pop-Up Pottery Studio

The Platform is pleased to host several potters of the NPA who will be taking turns to work in the space.  Sharing their skills and knowledge, they look forward to chatting with the public about their pieces and creative practice.  Alongside crafting their own projects, they will all be running drop-in workshops so you can get hands on with clay and take your own piece of pottery home with you.  To find out when which potters are working in the studio, please see our section below on Pottery Workshops and check our Events page on the website. 

You will also find details on our Facebook page @theplatformgallery and curator Helen Cresswell will keep sharing the latest news on twitter via @PlatformGall.  You can also stop by the Gallery when we’re open and speak to a member of staff.

All ages and abilities are welcome in the studio, there are activities designed for everyone –  indicates whether a workshop is particularly suitable for families and young children.

Experiment and enjoy as you play with clay, and don’t forget to share what you made with us using social media – use the hashtags #ClayCollective #HeyClay! #FutureInMaking

Exploring Ceramic History and Making

You can also find out more about ceramics in the pottery studio by spending some time in this part of the workshop space.  Take a seat and spend some time getting inspired by the books, designs, ideas, prototypes, and tools on show. 

There is also an Activity Area where families will find creative projects for children – we’re hoping to inspire a new generation of makers, so share your work with us as we support Future Potters in the Making.

Pottery Workshops

All Ages and Abilities Welcome

Children and Family Friendly
Drop In

Various dates and times throughout the exhibition period

Cost: please contribute the requested amount specified by the potter, to help them cover the price of materials – the NPA and Platform Gallery intend these workshops to be as accessible and affordable as possible, so costs shouldn’t be too expensive. 

If you would like to arrange a group/school visit, please contact curator Helen Cresswell at

Event listings

Opening of Clay Collective!

Saturday 23 July 2016, 12 – 3pm

With winner of The Great British Pottery Throw Down, Matthew Wilcock and participating members of the Northern Potters Association

Join us for the official opening of the show and help us celebrate ceramic craft in the North West.  The network will be chatting about their pieces and member Graham Hough will be leading some making in the Pottery Studio – come play with clay and find out what Clay Collective is all about.

Pottery Workshops

Graham Hough

Saturday 23 July, 12 – 3pm
Monday to Saturday 19 – 25 September, 10am – 5pm

Demonstrating the techniques he uses to create his ceramic heads. Showing how using paper clay opens up completely new ways of working with clay.

Ruth Livesey

Friday 29 July, 10am – 5pm

Create seed heads and cane toppers in this nature inspired workshop

John Cook

Tuesday to Friday 2 – 5 August, 10am – 5pm

John will be decorating some of his biscuit fired pots for the public to watch – he is also bringing a wealth of tools and materials, including a kiln to explain the firing process. 

He will have a number of pots ready made for decoration – think about a design and decorate your own pot, which he will fire for you in his kiln at home for just £5.
You can also build your own pot from scratch, which John will take home and fire with a white majolica glaze – again, for just £5.  Another activity on offer is to make tags and decorations, for £2 per design.

All pots will be ready to collect from the gallery within two weeks after the workshop. 

Helen Birnbaum

Friday 12 August, 10.30am – 4pm

Helen will be bringing in a selection of hand built pieces she is working on – to coincide with the Food Festival, she will also be showing you how to make your own little piece of ceramic food – yum!

Linda Southwell

Monday 15 August, 11am – 3pm

Make your own slab built tile with impressed textures created by wild plants

Tuesday 16 August, 11am – 3pm

Create mini pinch pots, a handy pottery technique - you can attach several of these together to make a wind chime!

Wednesday 17 August, 11am – 1pm
© Helping children learn through play with clay, we’ll be making animals and insects in this accessible and fun workshop

Thursday 18 August, 11am – 3pm

Learn how to make porcelain jewellery

Carolyn Marr
Tuesday 23 August, 10am – 5pm

Carolyn will be sharing the technique of using moulds, to help people make their own piece of pottery – she will also be making small sculptures

Micaela Schoop
Tuesday and Wednesday 6 - 7 September, 10.30am – 4pm

Working on decorating biscuit fired ceramics.

Jo Wills
Monday to Saturday 12 – 18 September, 10am – 5pm

Jo will be showing you how to make a variety of small things using clay, such as brooches, pendants, dishes and bowls

Cost: Details to be confirmed. The NPA and Platform Gallery intend these workshops to be as accessible and affordable as possible, so costs shouldn’t be too expensive. You will be asked to contribute the requested amount specified by the potter, to help them cover the price of materials. 

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