Open call for the Clare Thornton Memorial Residency (CTMR)

We worked with Clare on bringing her show ‘Materials of Resistance – Absent but Present’ which was first shown at the Plymouth Arts Centre to Modern Clay in May 2018. Clare was born in Birmingham and this show meant a great deal to her, sadly she past away in March 2019.

Before her death Clare set aside funds to establish a memorial residency opportunity in Plymouth for a mid career artist, such as herself, using her old studio space at KARST.
Please share far and wide in memory of a great artist.

winter fair

Join Modern Clay and Grand Union for December’s Digbeth First Friday, for the Modern Clay Winter Fair and The Growing Project Sale.

We will be hosting our annual sale of studio ceramics made by our Modern Clay co-op members, including Leah Carless, Mark Essen, Joanne Masding, Sophie Mckinney, Suzi Osborn, Laurie Ramsell and Sarah Taylor Silverwood. 

We will also be selling limited edition ceramic plates that were made as part of The Growing Project, a community-led growing scheme working with organisations who support the vulnerably housed and people in crisis. Working in collaboration with The Residents of St Anne’s Hostel Birmingham, Modern Clay, Crisis Skylight and SIFA Fireside, the first phase culminated in a Public Dinner event at The Warehouse Cafe, whereby guests and participants shared stories, food and conversation about the symbolic meaning of taking seed to soil to plate.

There will be 60 plates available to purchase at £20 each. All of the plates are individually designed and made by participants of The Growing Project.

Proceedings of the plate sale will contribute towards fundraising for the next iteration of The Growing Project in 2020.

Cash & Card accepted

Clay sessions for babies and toddlers

Back by popular demand Artists Joanne Masding and Leah Carless from Modern Clay will be hosting a workshop on the 9th November for toddlers and babies.

To book tickets and for more information visit our Eventbrite page.

Modern Clay in Artlicks

We’re in print in the current issue of Art Licks magazine (Issue 24) as part of their weekend of curated activities in London.
Writing in response to their question ” ‘Interdependence’, exploring ideas of artist community, supports, reciprocity, and networks.” The text addresses issues of how hard it is to keep artist led space going to changes in becoming a members co-op. Included is also recent projects and activity which are often difficult to bring to the attention of the wider public (although often end up on instagram). We were also suppose to be taking part in the art licks weekend in London but as often happens we couldn’t make both ends meat (or vegan a meat substitute). As part of our ongoing development into how the studio works and its function we’ll be looking further into how we can present our work to the public in 2020. Apart from the Art School we’ve only been open to the public once this year, although we’re planning to be open in December for our winter fair, more details tba soon.

Please visit art licks website to purchase the issue.

Also follow us on insta to keep up to date.

Mark Essen


We’re are currently interesting in running the studio as coop and are looking for members to be apart of this.
If you are interested please contact us via the website.



Winter Fair for December Digbeth First Friday

Modern Clay Winter Fair

For the December edition of Digbeth First Friday Modern Clay will be holding a studio sale of ceramics and a 3D clay printing demonstration…

With ceramics for sale from –
uala Clooney
Emily Hawes
Sophie Huckfield
Jo Masding
Sophie McKinney
Suzi Osborn
Laurie Ramsell
Sarah Taylor Silverwood

Modern Clay,
Unit 17,
Minerva Works,
158 Fazeley Street,

B5 5RT

We have a contactless card machine + take cash

Also we’re all heading to the Grand Union Xmas Party after at digbeth more info click here

Thank you!

Clare Thornton ‘Materials of Resistance – Absent but Present’

Clare Thornton
‘Materials of Resistance – Absent but Present’

4th-25th May 2018

Opening event Friday 4th May 6-8pm Closing event Friday 25th May 10-12 am

Otherwise open by appointment

Clare Thornton will present a selection of new works at Modern Clay, Grand Union opening on Digbeth First Friday, May 4th. This selection is drawn from her latest body of work ‘Materials of Resistance’ which develops her longstanding interest in falling and folding.

Clare grew up in Birmingham and is now based in Plymouth. Originally coming from a performance background, in recent years Clare has been working with a range of malleable materials, including her body in this mix, to test her thinking around repetition, transformation and the trans-decorative. She presents her ideas through sculptural installation, live events and book works. A new publication to support this project is included as part of the display, containing contextual and experimental texts by writers/artists Phil Owen, Emma Cocker, Conor Wilson, Heike Roms and Natalie Raven.

This sharing of new works with Modern Clay marks the beginning of an exchange between artists and curators in Birmingham and Plymouth supported by PAC Home and Grand Union. Lucy Rollins, one of the curators of Clare’s recent exhibition at Plymouth Arts Centre where she is Assistant Curator, will do studio visits with Modern Clay artists in residence. Modern Clay’s founder Mark Essen will in return visit Plymouth to present an artist talk at PAC Home and meet with artists there. Through these kinds of exchange, our ambition is to open up dialogue between artists and curators in Birmingham and Plymouth, resulting in a strong network that creates new opportunities for artists in both cities.