Bensham Cats & Swan Boats
Ceramic cats look on, pleased and inquisitive, while Gazza and respected author Daniel Defoe are met with the local butcher and community police officer. These are the people who live and have lived in Bensham.
Bensham Cats & Swan Boats is a collection of ceramic objects and drawings by Alex Sickling, made in response to this unique community in Gateshead.
It is the small quirks and details that are particular to Bensham and sometimes a little surreal. Row upon row of Victorian terraces, children playing in the streets, cats sauntering amongst stolen wheelie bins along back lanes, dog walkers strolling through Saltwell Park, whilst small independent shops and businesses thrive along Coatsworth road.
As regeneration and neighbourhood action plans signpost progression, social housing and communities are torn down and a sense of character is lost. But Bensham still has a rare charm and sense of community unusual among neighborhoods today.
Alex Sickling is an image maker, illustrator and ceramicist.
She is currently exploring the process of image-making and illustration through ceramic objects, creating both functional and decorative one-off pieces.
Often wonky, lo-fi, and naively made, she hand builds ceramic figures, animals and objects, working from sketches and photographs.
Referencing museum collections and folk art, inspiration is taken from the local Northumbrian countryside, farms, adventures and childhood, as well as artists such as David Hockney, Hylton Nel and Grayson Perry.