A series of ceramic teapots, developed through a wellbeing project by people who identify as LGBTQ+, will be shown as part of the Manchester Open 2024 exhibition at HOME Manchester.
The teapots are the final result of the LGBTQ+ Teapots project, led by Stephen Davis, Lead Wellbeing Artist at START, and Harriet Brabbin, Wellbeing Arts Tutor at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust’s Recovery Pathways service.
The Recovery Pathways service supports individuals to build futures through art, people and places. It offers a unique and creative range opportunities to build confidence and skills, and enable personal mental health recovery.
The first series of LGBTQ+ Teapots sessions were run as a Recovery Pathways Arts for Good Health course, in collaboration with Out in the City, a social / support group for LGBTQ+ people over 50 years old in Manchester, and the LGBT Foundation. A further course was then run in collaboration with Age UK Manchester at Brunswick Village with participants aged 60+, where paper mâché was used to create the teapots.
The artwork will be exhibited in HOME’s Gallery from Saturday 3 February to Sunday 28 April 2024 and will be part of the biggest celebration of Greater Manchester’s creative talent alongside approximately 480 other amazing and unique artworks.
Stephen Davis Lead Wellbeing Artist at START said:
“The aim of the LGBTQ+ Teapots project was to share memories and stories using reminiscence resources and music from the 1950s ,1960s,1970s and 1980s, looking at LGBTQ culture, people, and places.
“Participants created ceramic teapots that used imagery, texture, words and colour to share their memories or tell a story.
“Teapots were used as a reference to ‘Tea Parties’, which were secret organised events before the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967 that gave the opportunity for the LGBTQ+ community to meet safely.
“Through the project, participants have been supported on their mental health recovery journey through creativity and connection with others. They’ve shared their amazing memories, told stories, and created a brilliant set of artworks which celebrate the rich cultural history of the LGBTQ+ community in Manchester.”
One participant said:
“What I have enjoyed most is how connected I’ve felt being part of this project.
“When I was a young man just coming out, I felt very isolated. It was illegal back then. In my later years that sense of isolation has returned.
“This project has been so important to me on so many levels, meeting others, sharing our experiences and stories. I’ve made some very positive friendships that I know will continue after the course has finished."
Another participant said:
“I was nervous about the course at first. I didn’t know what to expect. The 1960s weren’t a good time to be gay, and I didn’t know if I wanted to go back there. I’ve amazed myself though. I’ve enjoyed every minute reliving those days and telling my story. They may have been tough but I discovered I was a bit of a trailblazer back then. I can look back now with a smile every time I look at my teapot.”