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A potter’s response to sanctuary seekers

New member Sue Lambton wrote enclosing a photo of a small installation that she made.

‘I created these vessels as a response to my concerns for transient and endangered people who find their way to this country. The journey endured is travelled out of desperation with daily fear and uncertainty maintaining a heightened sense of trauma. At the journeys’ end, when people are rescued from the waters surrounding us, or found on beaches, or filmed by camera crews, I expect a blanket is provided and possibly, is considered the first act of kindness and safety at the end of this journey. It must be a savage realisation and a cruelty that is unbearable, when that crushing anguish of loss, deprivation and confusion is not really ‘bad enough’ for HMG. Camps are created, hope trickles away and souls are broken and all the different narratives which have come with the hundreds of desperate people amount to so little and a new and worse narrative has to be imagined in order to fill out a form and jump through a jumble of hoops, in order to be worthy of compassion and a safe place to live.

My continuing despair comes from the fact that what I have written is just rhetoric, the opportunity for effective discussion concerning a future for people who have lost so much and who have such courage and resilience (qualities, which in other circumstances are valued) is barely available these days and a forum for any voice or agency has disappeared. It is startling how quickly the language surrounding displaced people has been reduced to a form of demonisation of a whole group (and is tinged with the fetid reek of imperialism), it has failed to celebrate the enormous achievement of having arrived here safely. Most importantly, in the corridors of power we appear to have swapped our humanity for a piece of paper.

The technical side:

A Mantle of Misconceptions: Family

These vessels have been made using different types of clay, but all have a hard core of firm and resilient grit which enables them to withstand the high temperature needed for firing. The forms have been roughened and had initial marks and slip colour applied. The heads and bodies are interchangeable giving a joyful and unexpected variety of combinations. The final glaze is weak and white, all vessels have been glazed using this. Finally, there are only a couple of water-tight vessels, the rest are porous and just leak when filled with a liquid. ‘