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'Create a Crest' Project Partner - David Wadsworth

During June Blackwell Parish residents were invited to take part in 'Create a Crest!' the latest creative community project led by local community group ‘Greater Creative’ in partnership with The Pottery in Alfreton.

'Create a Crest' saw local residents collect a soft clay tile from various collection points that they could then use to create their own ‘House Crest’ during the UK wide lockdown. Over 400 tiles were produced and to date over 300 have been returned. The kiln fired tiles will eventually be mounted together and installed in prominent locations for the public to view in Newton, Westhouses, Hilcote and Blackwell to celebrate and commemorate community spirit, whilst marking this time in the Parish as a key point in history.

Greater Creative were really pleased to be able to work with Dave Wadsworth from The Pottery in Alfreton on the project. Dave is the 12-year proprietor of ‘The Pottery & Tearooms’ in Alfreton. He is known for his distinctive unique green glazes, sought after stoneware & one-off pieces which are crafted & inspired through medieval & Japanese techniques. We caught up with Dave to hear his thoughts on the ’Create a Crest’ project:

“I have to admit that when we were first approached and asked if the pottery could be involved with the project my initial thoughts were that it was a VERY ambitious project! I was keen to get involved though as our own work during lockdown had all but dried up, I think that most people just assumed that we had shut. We’d been running our ‘Paint a Pot’ service but more as a takeaway with the public collecting and dropping off pots at our porch area. We realised that people were missing the pottery environment whilst they created with clay, and also that some people simply didn’t feel comfortable leaving the house. So ‘Create a Crest’ seemed like a fantastic way to reach a lot of people, especially those that might not have heard of us before.

The project has also been a fantastic opportunity for us to try things out and learn a lot more about working with people remotely. We’ve really had to think about what instructions to give to people to help them to create their pieces because in a face to face situation you can react and step in to guide people along the way. Working in this way we’ve had to prep more, do a lot more for people to ensure that the materials were ready and could be worked with successfully, whilst also making sure the instructions were simple and as precise as possible. I don’t think that this was necessarily a bad thing either, it’s just meant that each piece was more uniform which actually lends itself well to the planned public installations. That said the final designs have all been vastly different even though there was a common goal it’s been great to see the different results and thoughts behind each piece.

For us as an arts-based business the project has been a lifeline really. It’s led to new commissions from a couple of schools in the area who saw Create a Crest and wanted to work on a similar project with their pupils, coming to us for materials and guidance. It’s also been a brilliant way of networking with new local contacts especially members of the Greater Creative working party. It was wonderful to be asked to be involved as we were starting to worry that people were beginning to forget that we were here during the last few months. This project has gone a long way to maintaining our presence locally.”

Remember to keep an eye on our blog and like our page on Facebook to keep up to date with the unveiling of the finished pieces in the parish and for all the latest news on more of our upcoming creative projects for you to get involved in.

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