Cheddar Individuality Exhibition Time!

This week’s blog is written by Bridget Hemmings, lead artist on the amazing Cheddar Individuality Project commissioned as part of the 2022/23 Cheddar, Axbridge, Polden commissions.

The project aimed to create 1,000 ceramic figures each made by hand by local people, with the idea that they could be brought together for a walking trail in and around Cheddar. It has been a hugely enjoyable and popular project with 1000s of people involved many of  whom have never worked with clay before.

Six months on the target has been more than met. Over 1000 ceramic individuals will come together on for a one day one-time exhibition Sunday 21 May 11-4pm at the Catholic Church Hall, Cheddar BS27 3HU 

Engaging with the community through workshops.
We called upon the residents of Cheddar and the surrounding area to come and make figures.  We were overwhelmed with requests to work with groups: Warm Spaces, AONB, National Trust, Sea Cadets, WI, local schools and many more.  The project aimed to reach people that would not normally have the opportunity to express themselves with clay.  We were constantly amazed with everyone’s creativity and talent.  By the beginning of April, we had reached our target.

Exhibition – 21st May.

Once the project started it became clear that we needed more than the walking trail to celebrate people’s artistic talents. We booked Cheddar Catholic Church Hall for May 21st 11:00 – 4:00 for our exhibition.  This will  be the only day that all 1,000 figures will be together.  The hall is a new building with plenty of light to show off the figures and there will be refreshments throughout the day.

Walking Trail – Launch 9th July. 

Once the figures are made, we need to plan the walking trail.  This involves identifying suitable locations for a collection of figures.  Each site will have a small plaque with a QR reader so that anyone can find their way around the trail.

Progress so far.  Already this project has been totally amazing and at points overwhelming.  Having thought that there would be 10 workshops with 100 figures a day, we soon found out that this really was very naïve.  In order for everyone to enjoy the workshop and get creative, they needed to feel calm and relaxed in their environment.  This meant that some workshops only had 6 participants, others were much larger.  We took pop-up workshop to over 50 places altogether.  Also, we encouraged people who would rather create in their own space to have a go, leaving packages and instructions for them to pick up and return their figures.  We also posted several CIP from afar boxes.  The furthest we sent a CIP Box to was Madrid!  It was magical to find boxes of creations on my front bench and unwrap them.

Getting our message out there   We have been very keen to encourage people to follow the progress of this project.  We have over 250 subscribers to our emailing list.  We also frequently post on social media: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Film  Seed have commissioned a film to be created about this project.  Our photographer has filmed two workshops, visited the studio and interviewed participants.  We are very much looking forward to this which will also include drone footage of the walking trail.