Northern Industrial Commission: Update from Mike Scown

The Northern Industrial Ceramic Commission provides two second-year participants on the Ceramics Starter Studio Programme the opportunity to make new work as part of the Northern Industrial Project, run by MADE NORTH Gallery.

The resulting work should convey a sense of northern-ness through the choice of materials or way of manufacture, should be ‘useful’ and commercially viable.

Mike Scown, one of this year’s recipients, intends to make a tea set glazed using an ash glaze made from Yorkshire Tea bags.

"Tea ash glaze tests are underway. Having burned a quantity of Yorkshire Tea to make the ash I am now coating 184 thrown stoneware disks in varying proportions of Yorkshire Tea, clay dug from the ground in Sheffield, china clay, stoneware clay and feldspar to find a formula that will make a suitable glaze when heated to 1230 degrees C. Results so far have been very varied and interesting.

The original intention was to make a full tea service, pot and all, however this has been pared down to meet a more realistic tea drinking habit in busy daily working life, wherein a pot is seldom used and most often tea is brewed in the bag, in the mug. To this end I am developing a simple yet rugged mug with a large, ergonomic handle, accompanied by a small dish for used teabags to save the repeated journey across the kitchen to the bin, hand cupped beneath spoon to catch the drips. This dish will also fit neatly into the top of the mug to keep drinks warm if desired."

The finished commissioned works will be displayed in MADE NORTH Gallery at Yorkshire Artspace from Saturday 9th July to Saturday 27th August as part of Sheffield’s Year of Making 2016, and will subsequently tour within the UK and overseas as part of the Northern Industrial Project.