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Cheshire Clay Studio create an imaginative exhibition inspired by Cheshire’s salt history

A new exhibition of imaginative pottery from student and members of the Byley-based Cheshire Clay Studio will open on 5 October as part of the multi award-winning Lion Salt Works Museum’s Autumn season.

The exhibition is inspired by the Northwich-based museum and the rich heritage of salt beneath the Cheshire Plain, that has influenced the landscape and industry of the region. The exhibition will run until the end of 2021 and normal museum admission charges apply*. For more information, visit www.westcheshiremuseums.co.uk or call the museum on 01606 275066.  

To ensure visitors feel safe when attending the museum, the advice is to:  

  • Carry out and have a negative Lateral Flow Test 24h prior to attending the event  
  • That people should do a symptoms check prior to leaving home.  
  • That people consider their own measures prior to attending which could include face masks inside and some social distancing in busy areas.  
  • Visitors are also encouraged to download and log their Covid status on the NHS app  

The exhibition is the culmination of months of research and design, showcasing a wide range of ceramic techniques including coiling, press moulding, slab building as well as items made by hand-throwing on the wheel. 

Jean White, a founder of the Cheshire Clay Studio, said: “We all have a creative side and the Collective’s ceramic studio is a large, light-filled place where people can come to us either as beginners or as long-term members and be nurtured on their artistic journey.”  

“Cheshire’s salt history is absolutely fascinating and the Studio was delighted to be asked to do this exhibition. It has led to lots of different artistic interpretations. Liz Anspoks has produced a series of salt sellers, known as ‘salt pigs’; Liz Pritchard has been inspired by the Trent & Mersey canal that runs right past the museum and used to transport salt to Liverpool -  to create a narrow boat and horses. Ex-architect, Jim Williamson’s work uses the Museum’s historic buildings as inspiration.” 

“I am making press-moulded tiles, showing a mixture of birds endangered by climate change and that live on the nearby flashes. Subsidence relating to salt mining creates these lakes. I like the various connections with clay in the area. For instance, a terracotta clay base was used beneath the huge salt pans to retain heat. But it is also fascinating that the Thompson family, who owned the Lion Salt Works for six generations, also diversified the family business into the Northwich-based Jabez Thompson Brickworks which made much of the terracotta decoration that makes the doorways and buildings of Northwich so interesting.” 

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “It is always fascinating to see different artistic interpretations of Cheshire’s rich salt heritage and this exhibition promises to be both thought-provoking and a visual feast. I am delighted that the Lion Salt Works Museum continues to be a catalyst for exploring Cheshire’s salt heritage in exciting and different ways.”   

The Cheshire Clay Studio (https://www.cheshireclay.com/)  is based on Lowe’s Farm, Byley near Middlewich and runs ‘taster’ clay classes for beginner; beginners courses and working space for established members.  

The Lion Salt Works Museum tells the story of salt through interactive displays, including a sound and light show, automaton and ‘subsiding house’. The Museum is one of the world’s only remaining open-pan, salt-making sites and so is a Scheduled Ancient Monument with the same Protection Status as Stonehenge. It has won nine prestigious awards since re-opening after a four-year £10m restoration in June 2015. 

Pictured - Jean White, a founder of the Cheshire Clay Studio,  with press-moulded tiles.

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