Making Clay Casts

Photo: Pippa Riddick

Archaeology and ceramics combined throughout this project to trace the changing history of Bankside from an industrial centre to cultural hub. Find out more about how the clay casts used in the final installation were created in a series of workshops with children from Charles Dickens Primary School and elders at Blackfriars Settlement, connecting them with the river that has been cut off from them in recent years.

1.Discovering the Archaeological History of the Thames' artefacts

Archaeologist Mike Webber took students on a journey of discovery, using objects found in the Thames to tell the industrial story of Bankside, with an emphasis on the thriving pottery trade as a number of factories once lined the river. There was also a trip onto the Thames foreshore to bring this to life.

  • Artefacts from the Thames
  • Exploring the foreshore
  • Artefact display (c) Gabor Gergley

2. Making moulds of artefacts

This history was solidified when Ceramicist Raewyn Harrison taught children at Charles Dickens School to create moulds out of these objects, and some of their own, using clay from the Thames. These moulds were fired in a kiln, leaving behind the negative shape of the objects, ready for casts to be created.

  • Creating moulds
  • Creating moulds
  • Creating moulds
  • Creating moulds
  • Creating moulds

3. Creating casts out of moulds

In further workshops, children pressed clay into the moulds leaving behind a cast of the object, ready for use on the public day to build the installation. Elders at Blackfriars Settlement also had a go, and shared their memories of Bankside from when it was still a centre for industry, and insights into how these developments have changed their relationship with the river.

  • Creating casts (c) Mike Webber
  • Children creating casts
  • Photo: Pippa Riddick
  • Creating casts
  • Creating casts
  • Fresh cast