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Review: Scouse in a bowl – is good for the soul

Scouse in a bowl – is good for the soul
Baltic Clay, at Fruit + Fibres
, 24th February 2017

Words, Patrick Kirk-Smith
Pictures, Andrew John Sherriff

It’s not every day we get to write food reviews for Art in Liverpool; in fact I’m fairly sure I’ve never done it before. But last week, in support of The Whitechapel Centre, Baltic Clay and Fruit + Fibres teamed up to dole out healthy servings of scouse in unique bowls produced by some of Liverpool’s most loved potters.

And we even got to keep the bowls!! I took home work by Kathy Derelli & a pot donated by one of the supporting studios (Bridewell Studios & Lark Lane Pottery both donated work for the event) and have even tried to fill it with our home-made scouse since. I’ve got to admit though, it’s been a fairly spectacular failure, so we’ll be leaving our scouse to the professionals next time.

Brilliant scouse aside though, the project, thought up and coordinated by Andrew Sherriff and Louise Waller, was in support of an incredible cause; The Whitechapel Centre, Liverpool’s leading homeless and housing charity. Working directly with people sleeping rough, and bouncing between hostels, the centre supports their development into work and reliable housing. Up until the point where they help people turn their lives around, they provide beds, showers and food for their users.

The scouse, and handmade ceramics it was served in, were a welcome distraction from the shadowing issues the event was in aid of. But now, perched on the draining tray next to my kitchen sink, are two immaculate bowls which keep reminding me that the soup kitchen I ate in last Friday was a far happier affair than the soup kitchen the bowls have supported.

The atmosphere at Fruit + Fibres, for the entire evening was one of warmth, support, and wonder. For me though, it was the wonder that won out. I had not visited the space until now, and had no idea what to expect. I only had a limited idea of The Whitechapel Centre too, so other than knowing them to support Liverpool’s homeless communities, didn’t quite know what I was going to be helping. I’m glad to say I’ve spent my weekend finding out more about the centre and brilliant work they do, and am incredibly happy to have supported their cause (giving still counts if you get bespoke ceramics out of it right?).

There was just something incredible about seeing what a massive impact the arts can have on fundraising when done right. This wasn’t an auction, it wasn’t a fair. The event was curated with an element of risk too. No one had any idea what they would be leaving with, so the only thing any diner went in knowing was that the menu was “Scouse, Blind Scouse, Soup.”

The quality of what we were able to leave with though, and the creative buzz in the room left me feeling like I’d been part of something important, so I really hope more events like this can continue to pop up, because their impact could potentially be incredible.

For more information on how you can support The Whitechapel Centre, their website is available here. To find out more about any of the potters, their pages can be found below:

Chris Turrell Watts
Andrew Sherriff (whose photography work can be found here)
Jane Loveday
Louise Waller
Kathy Derelli
Kath Flaherty
Cheryl Tully
Ross Makinson
Wendy Johnson
Helen Bush
Darran Ling
Don Parkinson

The event was photographed by Andrew Sherriff, whose photography work can be seen here