News and events

Fired-up for careers in ceramics

21 December 2012

Chris Theobald

Local school teachers get to grips with clay as part of national craft scheme

Art and craft teachers from across Preston have gone back to ‘school’ as part of a national scheme aimed at raising awareness of clay and ceramics with young people.

The teachers, based within five local *schools, have just finished an intensive six-week training programme under the guidance of ceramics tutors at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
With their skills refreshed the teachers now aim to enthuse their own pupils by highlighting the importance and career possibilities of clay and ceramics.

“We didn't want to miss out on the opportunity to work with UCLan and the Crafts Council”

The scheme, appropriately named ‘Firing-Up’, is a national programme run by the Crafts Council. It will be formally launched in the North West at an event to be held at UCLan in the February.

Andrew Pearson, Head of Art at Christ the King Catholic Maths & Computing College, was one of the teachers who took part in the refresher sessions.

“As soon as the school received the information about the Firing-Up project we jumped at the opportunity,” he said.

“Making things with your hands is a really important part of any education”

“We have good ceramics facilities in place here already but didn't want to miss out on the opportunity to work with UCLan and the Crafts Council.

“As my own degree was in ceramics it was really important for me to get involved and show our students the range of skills required in this subject in addition to the opportunities a possible career that ceramics may offer.”

He added: “We are now looking forward to seeing the positive affect this has over our students and the work they produce, including working with a visiting artist in the New Year.”

Mark Arrowsmith, the Head of Art and Design at Fulwood Academy, commented: “This project has helped us to plug a skills gap in art education and the students have responded well to this very practical subject. 

“We have brand new facilities at Fulwood Academy and look forward to working on a group project to produce a piece of ceramic art that the school can enjoy for decades to come.”

UCLan graduate and ceramic artist Wendy Lawrence has worked with the teachers on the project and will act as a visiting artist to one of the schools. 

She said: “Art can be used to inspire children, build confidence and encourages them to use their imagination.  The teachers I worked with have all made fantastic progress and I have no doubt that they will pass this enthusiasm onto their pupils.”

UCLan’s Dr Alasdair Bremner, Lecturer and Research Assistant from the School of Art, Design and Performance, is coordinating the project.

He said: “We were really keen to help out and promote this scheme.

“Making things with your hands is a really important part of any education and can help develop students’ dexterity whether they go on to become a craftsperson or a surgeon.”

*The schools taking part in the project are: Christ the King Catholic Maths & Computing College, Corpus Christi Catholic Sports College, Fulwood Academy, Moor Park Business and Enterprise School, and Witton Park High School.