Community project celebrates Shrovetide Football

Our Game, a 5,000-piece community project celebrating Ashbourne’s Shrovetide Football game, will be one of the main highlights at the town’s 2018 festival.

Helen Cammiss, pictured left,  and Sarah Heaton, founders of The Clayrooms, have drawn inspiration from sculptor Anthony Gormley’s Field – and the Terracotta Warriors of Xian, China, to create thousands of small ceramic figures representing the crowd and players. 

Hundreds of local children and adults have been busy working on the unique art installation at a series of organised school visits and pop-up workshops in town over the last few months, and they plan to have it installed in St Oswald’s Church, in Ashbourne from June until October.

Tim Challans, of Ashbourne Arts, the group of volunteers that organises the festival, said: “Every year we aim to bring something new, exciting and innovative to the town and Our Game is an ambitious project involving the whole community.

“We are delighted with the success of the partnership with the Clayrooms and the funding from Arts Council England, which has enabled it to go ahead. This really is going to be a must-see event.”

Sarah, who had 23 years experience working in the ceramics industry, including working for Denby Pottery, before launching the Clayrooms with her friend Helen, said: “The people of Ashbourne are passionate about the Shrovetide Football tradition and we are keen to capture this in the installation. 

“We are thrilled at the response from the different groups in the town who have been joining the workshops and it is great to see the project slowly taking shape.  We are on schedule with the mammoth task and excited about seeing the completed work in place in the church.”

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