Joan Brailsford – C
Canals – Cogs, Cups and Chimneys
Inspiration: scenery surrounding Middleport pottery, from the canal to the old skyline, and hints of the factory between the two.
Continuing my pottery series, this time I chose to depict the surrounding areas and the sights that were once there and now only remain in hints. The canals would have brought clay to the factory and were used to ship the finished ware, and the machinery depicted was used to hoist the cargo on and off the barges. The skyline was once dominated by chimneys, including the iconic bottle ovens (which are in fact specialised chimneys), and of course the attendant smoke. Nowadays the potteries and bottle ovens are gone. Middleport pottery is still has one bottle oven and the hoisting machinery still remains, although now rusting and disused.
I created a stencil to depict the skyline and used that to stamp the smoky sky. I coloured some sheer fabric with transfer paint and applied this over the top of the stencil to give it a more faded and ‘remembered’ feel. On the right-hand side of the piece I used the bottle oven shape that I have used throughout this series, to emphasise the chimney motif. I used shapes from the hoisting machinery to form the cogs and the outlines, and used the same shapes in photo images which I added. I also added photo transfers of cups, canal boats and other factory images. Finally I included some cobble/brick quilting in places.
I wanted to demonstrate the contrast between the pretty, delicate cups and the heavy industry and grime that is needed to produce them.