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Put your hands on the wheel

By Mark Hayhurst 31 Mar 2017

The Crafts Council’s Hey Clay! is returning.

The event will see over 90 venues participate from April 7-9 across the country.

The weekend gives people the opportunity to get creative with clay at free pottery workshops and is part of the Get Creative campaign with the BBC, which runs on the same dates.

Jonty Claypole, Director of Arts, BBC said: “It’s wonderful for the BBC to be part of Get Creative, a chance to inspire and celebrate the everyday creativity that happens right across the UK. We’re really excited that so many people will get the chance to have first-hand experience of what it’s like behind a potter’s wheel thanks to Hey Clay!, providing an opportunity to really get creative minds fired up.”

There has been a surge of interest in the popularity of making and crafts across the UK due to TV shows such as The Great Pottery Throw Down and The Great British Sewing Bee.

In December 2015, Hey Clay! saw venues across the UK including the studios of Great Pottery Throw Down judges Keith Brymer-Jones and Kate Malone, attracting over 4,000 visitors.

However, although the interest in craft is on the rise there is worrying concern for craft education.

A Craft Council report shows that students studying craft related GCSEs has fallen by 25 per cent since 2007/8.

The Creative Industries Federation recently published a paper illustrating how the current focus on the EBacc - which includes no creative subjects - is limiting the options of the next generation.

That’s why the Crafts Council wants to offer opportunities for the nation to get creative.

So far 170 Hey Clay! events have been confirmed in museums, galleries, colleges and potteries across the UK – with more being added every day.

Hey Clay! visitors will be able to witness the drama of raku firing, have a go at press moulding, throwing on a wheel, pinching, slab building, oxide bubble blowing, coiling, decorating with found objects and much more.

Keith Brymer Jones, maker and judge on The Great Pottery Throw Down, said: “I am so happy to hear that Hey Clay! is back. It’s a not to be missed opportunity where the public can get creative and unleash their inner potter for free. Lots of studios and makers across the UK will be taking part in the fun this year which was so popular last time round. You never know we might be seeing you on the Great Pottery Throw Down next year!”

You will be able to create pinch pot egg cups at Northlight Art Studios in West Yorkshire, enamel paint on to porcelain at Arch 40 in east London, make a clay figure at the Leach Pottery in Cornwall, have a go at slab rolling and extruding at Wentworth Pottery in East Yorkshire, create terracotta pots at Ruthin Craft Centre in Wales and Easter eggs at City Ceramics Studio in Glasgow, have a go on a wheel in Bristol’s mobile pottery studio.

Plus the home of the Great Pottery Throw Down – Middleport Pottery - will be hosting a whole weekend of fun activities.

For more information about Hey Clay! visit http://www.craftscouncil.org.uk/what-we-do/hey-clay

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