Millennium Gallery exhibition turns ‘mud into gold’Posted by: Genevieve Braund
Base Materials: Manor Maker with Emilie Taylor Image © Karina Lax
Sheffield artist Emilie Taylor has worked with a group of adults in various stages of recovery to highlight the importance of making in tackling substance abuse for a new exhibition
September is National Recovery Month, a time in which people come together to raise awareness of substance abuse, and celebrate the strength and determination of those who have recovered.
To recognise this, a new exhibition at the Millennium Gallery will display the work of service users at Sheffield Alcohol Support Service, who have been exploring how creativity can be used as a therapeutic outlet during a time of great change and recovery.
Manor Maker: Base Materials considers the powerful impact of making on our sense of self. The exhibition is the culmination of a project which saw 10 adults work with Sheffield-based artist, Emilie Taylor, to come together to talk, think, draw and use clay to create monuments to their process and themselves.
© Karina Lax
Artist Emilie Taylor, said: “In a time of austerity and cuts it has been a huge privilege to be able to lead this project and explore the holistic potential of what creativity can bring to recovery. It has been humbling and inspiring to work alongside the people who have taken part.”
The resulting pots, made by the group during weekly meetings over a four month period, were fired in a wood firing kiln built on the Manor Estate in Sheffield. The 12 hour firing took place on May Day or Beltane – the Pagan festival of fire – which sees out the old, brings in the new and welcomes change.
Alongside the pots created by the Manor Makers, the exhibition also features drawings they made in the weekly meetings, reflecting the thoughts and feelings borne out of the making process.
© Karina Lax
The impact of the project is clear to see in the words of the makers themselves. One participant in the scheme, said of the experience: “It’s the only time my head is clear – I feel safe and revived.”
Alison Morton, Head of Exhibitions at Museums Sheffield said: “The Base Materials project is a powerful example of how creativity can have a positive impact on self-esteem and wellbeing. The work the Manor Makers have created with Emilie is both compelling and affecting and we’re absolutely delighted to be showcasing it here at the Millennium Gallery.”
Manor Maker: Base Materials with Emilie Taylor opens at the Millennium Gallery on Saturday 31st August and continues until 6th Oct 2019 – entry to the exhibition is free.