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Frances Priest, our artist in residence at Manor Oaks Studios, spent the week of 28th March to 1st April at Manor Oaks Studios. This is her second blog entry:-
"In between all the seasonal, royal and national holidays that seem to be tempting us away from work and into the glorious sunshine, I am making preparations for another trip to Sheffield and THE most important date in everyone’s diary: the official opening of Manor Oaks Studios onFriday 6th May. I am looking forward to joining in the celebrations and using the opportunity to share some of the work I have been developing during my residency at Manor Oaks Studios and Manor Lodge. A week in late March saw me working through a process of design development with a number of local groups and individuals toward realising my plan to make a table setting for the Tudor Turret House banqueting room. The Manor Lodge over 50’s Lunch Club got the ball rolling, after a hearty Shepherd’s Pie lunch, with an afternoon spent constructing printing blocks inspired by photographs of the Tudor Turret House plaster work ceiling and Victorian stained glass windows.
The following day I visited Enable Day Care Centre where an enthusiastic group took the design process a stage further, using the printing blocks to make a series of pattern samples and a magnificent printed banner. On Wednesday I met with a group of young people from Endeavour, based at Wybourn Youth Trust, who gamely climbed the narrow stairs of the Turret House to attempt some unusual observational drawing activities in the Banqueting Room. I also spent a fascinating afternoon at Anchor Court Sheltered Housing Association chatting and reminiscing with day visitors about Manor Lodge, hearing tales of secret tunnels between The Manor and Sheffield Castle, recalling school trips to Manor Lodge and wondering whether anyone remembered Maggie Webster, the last person to live in the Tudor Turret House.
I also found time to meet with Tony, the newly appointed Manor Lodge Farm Shop Café chef to discuss cakes and biscuits and made a second visit to the Freeman College Whittle Tang Cutlery workshop where a plan is emerging to make a series of cake slices for the table setting.
May 6th will be another chance to move the design process on a step by inviting guests to participate in making a collaborative collage that will cover the walls and floor of the Ceramic Starter Studio at Manor Oaks. My hope is that the drawing will grow throughout the afternoon as individuals add their little bit to a surface pattern made up of decorative motifs developed during the March workshops. It is exciting to see how it is possible to create a process in which so many people are invited to lend a hand in helping to evolve a pattern design that will eventually be used for the surface for decorative ceramic tableware. This is a re-inventing of the decorative language that covers the ceiling, walls and windows of the Tudor Turret House banqueting room".