Stoke-on-Trent takes centre stage at Show and Tell 2015

“I really wanted to celebrate the back story and heritage of the local area. I think there are a lot of unsung heroes that come from Stoke.”

Sean Sargent, BA (Hons) Graphic Deisgn

An exhibition of artwork inspired by the city of Stoke-on-Trent will feature at Staffordshire University's annual Art and Design degree show.

Show and Tell 2015 will showcase the work of hundreds of final year students including BA (Hons) Graphics Design students who have created an array of Stoke-themed projects.

Sean Sargent's work celebrates Stoke born artist Arnold Machin who designed an effigy of the queen used on coins and stamps for more than 40 years. It is thought that his design is the most reproduced work of art in history.

A giant stamp features Machin in place of the queen, formed from a collage of broken ceramic tiles – a nod to Machin's ceramics background in the potteries.

Sean said: “Most people probably aren’t aware that Arnold Machin came from Stoke.”

“I really wanted to celebrate the back story and heritage of the local area. I think there are a lot of unsung heroes that come from Stoke.”

Work from fellow Graphics students include a paper embossed Wedgewood-style cake to celebrate the company's 250th anniversary, a Scrabble-esque set of ceramic tiles featuring the local lingo and a children's book based on the infamous witch of Burslem, Molly Leigh.

In the Fine Art gallery, large biro sketches by student Anneka Reay, featuring multi-coloured brains and geometric landscapes, will be on display.

Anneka was hospitalised in her second year of University with severe anorexia but has returned seven years later to finish her degree.

Anneka's detailed illustrations use surreal and natural environments to explore how the mind works.

“I was in hospital for two and a half years and I drew every day. I found solace and catharsis through sketching. It was an extremely difficult time but I managed to find a silver lining through my art.” explained Anneka.

“Back then I had really low self-esteem. I didn't feel I was worth investing in, so I just used a biro instead of buying paints or other art materials.”

Fine Art lecturer, Dr Sarah Key says the quality of work that Anneka has produced using biro is impressive.

“Biro is actually quite difficult to work with.  It's amazing the sensitivity and shading that Anneka has created with what it essentially an office tool.”

Anneka plans to promote art as a form of therapy for people with mental health issues and will run an art therapy group after leaving University.

Becca Keenan, studying BA (Hons)3D Design: Ceramics, has gone potty for teapots for her project and has created 6 Moroccan inspired tea sets.

“I've grown up in the Potteries and my Mum and Dad both work in ceramics so I suppose it's in my blood.”

She added: “I really wanted to take the traditional iron teapot and turn it into something modern. I was influenced Bohemian styles – I love the bright colours and patterns.”

Becca creates her designs in the form of stitched illustrations which are used to create a screen print pattern that is transferred onto the tea sets.

“I'm planning to stay at Staffs for the MA Ceramic Design course and hopefully showing my work at the exhibition will help me find some work experience.”

Show and Tell 2015 will feature the work of more than 300 Art and Design students from 20 courses including photography, crafts, graphics, animation and surface pattern.

The exhibition is open to the public from Saturday 13 June – Saturday 20 June.
Opening times can be found here.


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