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An exhibition featuring work from recipients of the CIT Development Award, an annual prize that gives exhibition opportunities and mentoring support to contemporary artists graduating from the School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Ceramic artists Isobelle Hayes and Carlie Smith exhibit work alongside cast concrete artist Sophie Attridge and multidisciplinary artist Gráinne Williams. All four makers are inspired by aspects of their own environments, from the Brutalist architecture of 1950s social housing, to digging and processing wild clay from their land. Each award winner has worked with curator Michelle Keeling to develop an exhibition that blends unique narratives with innovative approaches to their chosen themes and materials.

There will be a launch of the exhibition on Thursday 30 March from 18:00 – 19:30. This is a free drop in event.


Carlie Smith

Carlie is a maker exploring the contemporary nature of ceramics. Carlie will be showing two bodies of work in this exhibition:

Pavement Series: South Manchester is inspired by the untameable essence of nature in the urban environment of Manchester. It is centred on weeds growing through cracks in the pavement. The interaction between two opposing forms is dispersed in pockets throughout the urban landscape, although easily overlooked. This collection encourages an admiration of the plants flourishing in such an unnourishing environment.

Pavement Series: Skælskør interacts directly with the rural location of Skælskør, reflecting the well-maintained condition of the pavements. Although working in a method of batch-production, each piece created is unique due to the colours and textures shaped through the unpredictable nature of Soda firing.

Sophie Attridge

Sophie will be showing her body of work ‘Connect’ - a collection of cast concrete tiles, based around the combination of harsh forms, materials and textures recognised within brutalism.

Specifically responding to UK architecture from the social housing crisis in the 1950s, Sophie's work explores brutalism as not only an exterior form but also by welcoming it into interior spaces. The project acts as a mediator between brutalism's negative stereotypes and the importance and beauty within it. The pieces are based around uncalibrated tessellated tile, working with geometries as a form of complex art.

Isobelle Hayes

Isobelle is a natural ceramicist whose work is driven by a need for change. For her collection of wild clay vessels, she returned to where she grew up on to explore her relationship with the natural world. Isobelle works with traditional techniques and processes, exclusively using materials found within the land's boundaries to create ceramic vessels.

These vessels are hand sourced and processed using a unique wild clay specific to land formed during the carboniferous era around 315 million years ago. They have been sawdust-fired onsite with heather and bracken collected from local moorland. This has all been done with the desire to create an ethical, self-sufficient ceramics practice.

Gráinne Williams

Gráinne's Roots Series is a collection of decorative tools which reference how traditional food and craft practices can connect us to our cultural and ancestral heritage.

The collection utilises the conventional forms of garden tools, established in their function to nurture and cultivate the land for food, which are then shaped, transitioning the functional into the decorative. The water-jet cutting process follows digital patterns translated from crocheted motifs developed from historical Irish Lace patterns. The process is founded in traditional craft practices, but employs a partnership between the hand-made and the machine-made, using new material technologies alongside traditional techniques.

The handles are cast from potatoes, a vegetable which has an historic relationship to Ireland and is illustrative of Irish history, heritage, culture and resilience.


Sat 01 Apr - Sat 24 June 2023

Free entry

Open Mon - Sat 10:00 – 17:00

Lauriston Gallery, Waterside


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