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Go wild with clay at the British Science Festival

Published: 20 August 2021 at 10:22

Sarah Strachan digging wild clay in Essex

ARU ceramic artist will help us to tell stories using the ground beneath our feet

Ceramic artist and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) MA Fine Art student Sarah Strachan is inviting people to go wild with clay during a pottery class with a difference at the British Science Festival in Chelmsford on 8 September. 

Sarah, who has been recently selected for the prestigious Fresh 2021 exhibition at the British Ceramic Biennial in Stoke-on-Trent, is hosting a special workshop using clay dug from the ground in Chelmsford, Cambridge, and Iraq.

She is part of a Geology-Art-Sound research group which led to working with clay from specific places, including the Al-Hammar marshes in southern Iraq, to explore how the materials used to produce art can generate special connections with these places.  Sarah is running the event along with other members of the MUD Collective

Sarah, who is lives in Cambridge and studies at ARU’s Cambridge School of Art, said: “Our British Science Festival event will look to engage people with the ground beneath their feet, and all the stories contained within it.  

“I'm interested in exploring ideas through both manufactured clay and 'wild clay' dug straight from the ground.

“I’ve previously used this ‘Mesopotamian mud’ from Iraq to produce a series of clay sculptural objects that explore climate change and contested water in the Middle East’s ‘Garden of Eden’.  I’m really looking forward to helping people tell their own stories, using clay from different places, and seeing what kind of connections they make with this ‘wild clay’.” 

Immediately after the British Science Festival, Sarah will head to Stoke where three pieces of her work, called Objects listening, will be on display at the British Ceramic Biennial from 11 September to 17 October. The Fresh 2021 exhibition celebrates the work of 25 of the best early-career ceramic artists in the UK and Ireland.

Sarah said:


“I'm absolutely thrilled to be recognised by the expert selection panel at the British Ceramics Biennial and it's an honour to be showing my work in the historic home of ceramic design and manufacturing in the UK – Stoke-on-Trent. 

“It's such a fantastic opportunity to be able to exhibit my work alongside both emerging talent and a range of established artists and designers at UK’s largest festival that champions ceramics practice.  What makes this even more special is I'll be exhibiting the work that would have formed part of my final degree show, which couldn’t take place as a physical exhibition last summer due to Covid-19.”


Sarah’s British Science Festival event Stories From The Earth: Clay Workshop will take place at The Art Place – Ideas Hub in Chelmsford on Wednesday, 8 September (3.30-4.15pm). To reserve a free ticket, visit https://britishsciencefestival.seetickets.com/event/stories-from-the-earth-clay-workshop/the-art-place-ideas-hub/1985316