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Council unveils ‘Pots Around Town’ city trail

29 July 2015

A new sculptural trail featuring larger than life pots handmade by the north west’s leading ceramic artists, has been installed in Derry’s city centre.

‘Pots Around Town’ – a trail of eight large ceramic pots placed in prominent locations - marks the finale of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s ‘Craft in the City’ programme of summer events.

The project celebrates the culmination of Council’s year-long Craft Development Programme which was part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.

Encouraging locals and visitors alike to explore the trail, the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Elisha McCallion, said the exhibition was a great way to experience the work of local ceramicists in some of the city’s most historic locations.

 “I would like to congratulate Council’s Craft Development Programme team and all eight ceramic artists for providing such an impressive body of work for the public to enjoy at key locations throughout the city.

“Pots Around Town presents yet another opportunity for people to visit Derry as an international craft tourism destination. Those of us who live in the city and district, can also re-visit this exhibition at leisure, with family and friends.”

The Mayor said she was also delighted the trail had been carefully mapped out to ensure it was accessible for wheelchair users, prams and buggies.

Pots Around Town is being co-ordinated by local ceramicist Deirdre O’Callaghan of Docpot Studios, and features her work as well as seven other renowned  artists based in Derry, Tyrone and Donegal – Tom Agnew, Adam Frew, Christy Keeney, Maria Connolly, Brian McGee, Judi Logue and Neil Boyle.

The locations for the eight distinctive ceramic pots include the Guildhall, Craft Village, Millennium Forum, St Columb’s Cathedral, Aras Colmcille, St Augustine’s Church and the new Garden of Reflection on Bishop Street.

Deirdre O’Callaghan said the trail was inspired by the Swedish ‘Krukor pa stan’ (translated as ‘pots on the town’) outdoor exhibition which involved seven Scandinavian ceramicists creating large pots for display in locations in Stockholm in 1998.

Her own Pot, measuring two metres in height and created using a heavy white architectural clay, is located at St Augustine’s Church on the City Walls.

Deirdre said: “The project presented a challenge to the makers, taking us out of our comfort zone to make something really large, which we never really get an opportunity to do. The pieces are all very different and hopefully they will be able to stay in place long enough for as many people as possible to enjoy through the summer.”

Deirdre Harte, Craft Development Officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council, said the exhibition was one of the many highlights of the ‘Craft in the City’ summer programme which also includes the Secret Garden in Derry’s Craft Village showcasing the work of six local crafters, curated by Suzanne Woods.

Pots Around Town has already been capturing people’s imaginations as the eight installations appear at various spots in and around city centre venues.

Alex Mullan, Assistant Manager at Aras Colmcille in Long Tower, which is hosting a figurative piece by Donegal ceramic sculptor, Christy Keeney, said it had become a talking point since its arrival in the grounds of the heritage centre dedicated to the city’s patron, St Columba.

“It portrays a figure diving into the ground, with a few visitors noting that it could even be St Columba himself swimming to Iona on his famous journey! Coming in at almost six feet tall, it's taking pride of place in our garden, overlooking the city."

Paul Mason, general manager of the Millennium Forum whose foyer is ‘home’ to a giant teapot by Brian McGee, a Derry-born ceramic artist and potter based at St Johnston in Co Donegal, said: “We are delighted to be included in this beautiful addition to the City's craft heritage, with these wonderful large pots that are now a photo opportunity for many of our visitors.”

For more information and to download a copy of the ‘Pots Around Town’ trail, visit www.derrycityandstrabanedistrict.com/craft  Copies of the map are also available at public buildings across the city and district.

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