Stoke-on-Trent artists have been pooling their talents for an exhibition with a difference – in an empty swimming pool!
The new ‘Dust’ exhibition aims to support Stoke-on-Trent’s bid for City of Culture in 2021.
And artists from all Staffordshire have taken over Tunstall Baths for a week to show how creative the Potteries is.
For the bid, Stoke-on-Trent is up against 10 other cities, with Coventry currently the bookies favourite.
‘Dust’ is curatored by Joyce Iwaszko, an artist from Newcastle-under-Lyme who has been showing her work locally for more than 10 years.
Joining creative forces with Andy Cooke, the designer of the logo for the cultural bid, they have already showcased work in two of Stoke-on-Trent’s six towns, starting in Hanley and then being joined in Spode by a total of eight artists.
Joyce was originally inspired to create ‘Dust’ after another show at Spode in 2014.
“I would scrape the dust off the walls in Spode and make it into little piles,” said Joyce, who is now using piles of coloured dust to recreate traditional Jasperware in a range of non-traditional colours.
They then invited others to join them, growing to 12 artists, including popular ceramics maker Denise O’Sullivan and photographer Dawn Jutton.
“We all know each other and now we’re trying to support each other.
“The only way we are going be successful in the bid is if we all get together.”
The show boasts no specific theme, bringing together artists from several mediums including photography, ceramics and traditional paintings materials.
The only thing that links them all is the colours of the bid logo.
So they have used black, white, red, orange, yellow, green or blue in any creative way they choose – and it doesn’t disappoint.
Anybody born and bred in the area will be able to identify with the pieces, including those by Joyce who took inspiration from world famous Jasperware but detouring away from the common blue and white.
With three towns still to tour, Belfast-born Joyce is keen to get different audiences involved in them all.
“If you live in one town, you don’t go to the others – so that’s the reason for taking it to all the different towns.”
‘Dust’ will be coming to Fenton in February, Burslem’s Wedgwood Institute in March, and Longton will be the final town in April.
“The artists can continue to tour their pieces with us or change them around, helping them develop work inspired for each space,” added Joyce.
Another unexpected winner in this show is Tunstall Baths itself.
After closure in 2011, this will be the third time it has been used as an art space.
Its unique atmosphere is not wasted by being joined with a combination of Stoke’s history in art and modern pieces.
Extra opening hours have already been added to the schedule due to popular demand.
You can visit the exhibition on Wednesday or Friday on Greengages Street, Tunstall, 12pm-4pm.
Curators are already considering expanding hours this weekend if there is more demand.