Below our Instagram feed is the latest news and media coverage about Mike, Dave and their work.
Follow us on Instagram - Penkhull artists - and see our latest work. The images below are a live feed from our Instagram account.
May 2018 - Saga Magazine
We hope you'll find this story about us in the May issue of SAGA magazine of interest.
April 2018 - Preview of New work
Below is a preview of our latest ceramic work. The six pieces are just a small taste of what we've been up to over the last few months. We've also been working on some new paintings and pieces of sculpture.
our First Blog Post
February 10th 2018
Although called the Penkhull Artist Potters Association, we don't just make ceramic art. Both Mike Cain and Dave Harper work in a variety of media including print making, painting, photography and photo-collage. Below is the first in series of photo-collage pieces from Mike. This triptych is called 'Upright form in landscape'. It is a limited edition of twenty-five.
This work is featured in the our first blog post - 'The Power of the Motif' - in which Mike discusses being influenced by the artist Paul Feiler and the unconscious power of the upright form, as a starting point for much of his work. More blogs are in the pipeline.
Upright form in landscape - Limited edition of twenty five by Mike Cain
Mike at Mellards - New exhibition opens at restored ironmongers warehouse
February 1st 2018
"Much of Mike's work has a raw, industrial quality. It seems to share the same aesthetic sense as the building." Val Newman - Mellards
Its been sympathetically restored, has a friendly atmosphere plus a good range of craft beers and cocktails. But Mellards in Newcastle under Lyme is offering something that other bars don't usually sell - Art. The former ironmonger’s warehouse on Market Lane has launched a 'rolling exhibition' of paintings and prints by local artist and founder of the Penkhull Artist Potters Association, Mike Cain.
Bar owner Bill Mercer said “Although much of Mike’s work is abstract its inspiration is drawn from the Potteries and its people. Much of it has an industrial feel and we think it adds something special to what we’ve created here at Mellards.”
"Over the years I've exhibited in all sorts of places but never in such a unique space as here at Mellards. The building is amazing and not all of it has been opened to the public yet. This is a great opportunity for me to reach a new audience and show my work to people who perhaps rarely visit art galleries." said Mike Cain.
Mellards had been unused and semi-derelict for decades before being restored by former lecturer Bill Mercer. But it was his wife, Val Newman who first saw Mike's work and thought it would be a great addition to the newly opened bar.
"A friend of mine had been to the Penkhull Artist Potters Association exhibition at the Spode Museum in Stoke, and although that was a group show largely based around ceramic art, it included some of Mike's paintings and prints. My friend bought a few pieces and as soon as I saw them I knew they would be a good fit for Mellards." Said Val Newman.
Val arranged to meet Mike and not only bought several pieces, which are on display at Mellards, but also offered him the chance to hold a rolling mini exhibition.
"Much of Mike's work has a raw, industrial quality. It seems to share the same aesthetic sense as the building. We wanted to give the bar a unique feel and although the work has only been on display a few days we’ve already had a really positive reaction from our customers." Said Val Newman
Mike attended the Burslem School of Art in the late 1950s and works across a range of media including painting, sculpture, print making, photography and ceramics. Two of his works on display at Mellards celebrate the life of Fred McGuiness who built up a vast scrap metal business at Longport. The pieces are called 'Totem for a Local Hero’. They are limited edition screen prints which have been constructed using photographs of scrap and old cars actually taken at the yard.
Mellards, which is tucked away just off the Iron market is a landmark building with a secure future thanks to Bill Mercer. “I used to walk past Mellards and think what a shame such a beautiful piece of our industrial heritage was being allowed to fall down. I used to fear I’d come along one day and find that it had been bulldozed. So when it came up for auction I thought now’s my chance to bring it back to life.”
Bill had the vision, drive and commitment needed to oversee the project, which took several years to complete. The building has now been restored and given a new lease of life and opened as Mellards bar just before Christmas 2017.
“We’ve done our best to keep as many of the original features as possible, while at the same time making the interior useable and enhancing its industrial Victorian feel. I think Mike's paintings compliment the restoration but have also add something extra." said Bill.
Less than half the building is currently open to the public, with a large ground floor space and several upper floor rooms undergoing some final restoration work.
"We have plans to make Mellards more than just a bar. From the 1st to the 4th of March we plan to hold our first Beer Festival here, in collaboration with Hopwater Cellar and Fire and Slice Pizza. We'll have 15 to 20 craft beers and around 200 bottle beers." said Bill
Val Newman added "We've got some great spaces here at Mellards which would work well for small scale music gigs such as Jazz and Blues or other types of music. There is a lot of potential here to boost the local arts and music scene."
There are plans for Mike to bring other pieces of his work to the bar over the coming months so that the exhibition evolves and develops further.
"I'd like to thank Bill and Val for giving me the chance to show my work at Mellards. The industrial past and how it now presents itself is a strong influence on what I do as an artist. The artefacts of the industrial revolution: the canals, roads, bridges, machines and factories, for me possess a kind of integrity. This integrity manifests itself in the way materials are used and juxtaposed and in turn this translates into a powerful aesthetic." said Mike Cain
Twitter feed LAUNCHED
Follow us on Twitter @Penkhullartists
During 2018 we plan to increase the content on our website, post regular blog posts and start using social media, and it begins with the launch of our Twitter feed at the end of January.
"2017 was a busy year for us, firstly in terms of the effort needed to create our first collection of work, but also in terms of securing and mounting our first group exhibition. We have equally ambitious plans for 2018 and these start with Twitter. Its about connecting with existing supporters but also a way of making new friends." said Dave
He added "We don't plan to send out multiple tweets everyday, far from it, but if you'd like to see our latest work, or news of our latest projects or exhibitions, then why not follow us on Twitter."
A Merry Christmas & A happy new year from The Penkhull Artists
"Our first year and our first group exhibition wouldn't have been the success it was without our families, friends and supporters. We'd like to thank everyone who helped us, and we now look forward to new challenges and our continued success in 2018."
Dave Harper - Penkhull Artist Potters Association
Staffordshire Life Magazine
Media coverage of Our first group exhibition
The Sentinel - September 2017
Launching the Penkhull Artist Potters Association
In a few days time The Penkhull Artist Potters Association (Mike Cain, Dave Harper and Tony Wild) will be opening their first group exhibition at the Spode Museum and Heritage Centre in Stoke-on-Trent, following six months work on their first collection. The event will also be the official launch of the group.
"We share the same studio and have the same creative ethos but produce individual pieces of ceramic art. We're based in Penkhull - a district of Stoke - and our work is based around traditional slab rolled slipware. But while many of the techniques we use are centuries old, our inspiration is modernist, expressionist and abstract." said Dave Harper
All three artists are inspired by Stoke and the surrounding north Midlands countryside. The region's industrial past, is also a significant source of inspiration. Their show runs from September 23rd until October 17th.
Dave Harper, Mike Cain, Tony Wild - Sept 2017