“Commissions are really important to our Art Makers” – How we made the trophies for the Social Enterprise UK Awards

Our pottery group recently worked on a major commission to create thirteen clay trophies for the Social Enterprise UK Awards which were held at the Globe Theatre in London last November. Maki, our pottery workshop leader, explains how they worked together to complete the project.

Art Makers in our pottery workshops making the trophies as part of our commission for the Social Enterprise UK awards

“We were delighted to be asked to make the awards for such an important event. I started by sitting down with the Art Makers and asking them for their ideas about what social enterprise meant to them. We had a look at some photos of previous awards and we all liked the idea of continuing to use the symbol of hands to represent helping others and working together. In our design, the hands clasp a gold ring to represent unity and show that when everyone works together we can achieve our goals.

A hand drawn design created by one of Art Makers for the Social Enterprise UK Award trophies

I always aim to make our projects accessible to as many Art Makers as possible. So I created a cardboard template which everyone could use as a guide to do the slab rolling and cut out the shape of the main body of the trophy. This helped to speed up the process of making the trophies and ensured that each one had the same basic structure.

Art Maker Mark creating the body of the trophy from clay
Art Maker Lucy golding the trophy before it is glazed and fired

We also used a special device called an extruder which is a bit like a sausage maker in that it helps you create coils of clay which are a consistent size and shape. The Art Makers then cut each coil into the length they need and simply attach it to the body of the trophies. We used three different lengths for this design so the hands clasp the gold ring in the centre. Creating the hand part itself is slightly more difficult so we had some help from our staff and volunteers to work on the detail.  By making a few simple adaptations through using the templates and specialist equipment, we ensured that everyone could get involved in the process regardless of their ability.

A close up image of some of the trophies we produced mounted on wooden blocks with gold engraving added

As you can see from the photos, we have used slightly different colours for each hand so everybody is represented. We also used a gold lustre paint to give the ring an extra special finish once it was fired. The clay pieces were then mounted onto wooden blocks and the plaques were added to create the finished trophies.

A group shot of the winners on stage at the SEUK awards at the Globe Theatre in London

Commissions are really important to our Art Makers. The pottery groups understood they were part of an important project and they really enjoyed making the trophies. We can create a wide range of pottery decorations, containers and personalised pieces so please do get in touch if you would like to find out more.”

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