Bringing their craft workshops and exhibitions to Brum Spirit ’16, Made Welcome will be showcasing the amazing work they do for Birmingham’s refugees from 10am on Saturday 23rd July. Ahead of the weekends cultural celebration, we had a chat with another of the seriously talented artists running Made Welcome workshops at the Old Print Works, Becky Belcher…
Name: Becky Belcher
Workshop: Sun Dragon Pottery
What is your occupation?
What medium do you work in?
What does Made Welcome mean to you?
An opportunity to meet a diverse mix of people from all over the world. After the first session I had met so many people from all over the world, it’s an amazing experience. For the participants, I think it it gives them an opportunity to get involved, to meet other people in a similar situation. Particularly the mothers, and talking about legislation and what happens when their children turn 18, it’s a place to share knowledge and experience.
What do you cover in your workshop?
We covered all sorts, from the beginnings of playing with clay to pot making. We are making pots, and a few people tried the potters wheel, some have painted their finished articles. It’s been really lovely have been painting vases, with many using colours from their culture. We have faced challenges with the time frame and having to incorporate the process. We give them space to combat the negative messages in the media and concentrate on things that are beautiful and useful.
Where are you from? How long have you lived in Birmingham?
I’ve lived here most my life.
What inspires you as an artist?
Personally, the microscopic and the microcosm, patterns in nature and microscopic images of virus.
How did you find out about Made Welcome?
Through Tessa Burwood, and being a part of the Old Print Works community.
Why did you want to get involved with Made Welcome?
I believe in it, and what it wants to achieve. I don’t watch the news, as I am aware that it is mainly a propaganda vehicle, and I cant listen to anymore negative and ignorance towards asylum seekers.No one talks about what we have in common, its only our differences pointed out. I want to talk about what we have in common.
What skills do you hope to teach the participants?
Well not just working with clay! The whole idea of self reliance, that if you need something you make it or trade for it. If you want to start selling something then you can make something and sell it. And that their are support networks open to them.
How have you found participants have received the workshops so far?
Some people are really enjoying it, but some find it dirty, although they are all really proud of what they have made.
How has Made Welcome benefited you as an artist and personally?
It’s reinforced things that I already thought…people have a genuine reason for being here, and we should make them feel welcome, not punish them. We are all human beings
How can we find out more about your art?
The Pottery have Facebook, Instagram and a blog. You can find out more about the workshop here.
Check out Becky chatting more about Made Welcome on Big Centre TV!