Women’s Stories To Be Told In Stunning Ceramics Exhibition

Posted on: Monday, January 30, 2023

A stunning new exhibition of ceramics by acclaimed artist Emilie Taylor will open at the National Civil War Centre this March. Launching the day after International Women’s Day, on Thursday 9th March, the remarkable display entitled Tubthumping will blend the 16th to 18th centuries with the present day, looking at how women’s roles have been impacted and the challenges they still face.

Funded by Arts Council England, the exhibition is the result of a yearlong collaboration between the Centre’s Exhibitions and Collections Manager Glyn Hughes and Sheffield ceramicist Taylor. Her works draw upon the museum’s collections and will feature alongside objects chosen from them by Emilie, including birthing stools as well as a scold’s bridle (a form of public punishment administered to ‘misbehaving’ women during the 16th and 17th centuries) and a tract of a woman’s account of wearing it.

Emilie’s beautiful and eye-opening pieces marry the traditional with the contemporary, using the heritage craft process of decorative slipware to tell updated stories of women in realistic modern settings including backdrops of council flats.

This approach has been lauded by critics with Lesley Jackson writing in Crafts magazine that “although Taylor draws on the 17th-century vernacular slipware traditions of Thomas Toft, her approach is unmistakably 21st Century”, while Sara Roberts of Ceramic Review said: “Emilie makes pots that draw our attention to the politics in the everyday”.

The stories she tells on her richly decorated pots range from modern female Morris dance troupe Boss Morris and their movement to reconnect with the land, to public protests and young mothers coping with the rising cost of living.

Councillor Rhona Holloway, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Visitors at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “Emilie’s works are both fascinating and visually arresting, shedding light on the important stories and struggles of women today while using a painstaking and beautiful traditional platform. I am hugely looking forward to seeing them displayed here in Newark among the National Civil War Centre’s fantastic collections”.

The exhibition, with text written by Dr Sara Read of Loughborough University, will be open from Thursday 9th March until Saturday 3rd June. Find out more at www.nationalcivilwarcentre.com or by following the National Civil War Centre on Facebook.