‘Scunthorpe on Sea’ brings exhibitions back to Caistor

Memories of growing up in the shadow of the steelworks has developed a new creative outlet for a Wolds-based potter.

Jen Holtridge EMN-210706-101535001

During lockdown, Jen Holtridge was unable to make ceramics as she juggled work and home-schooling, so she spent time exploring her collections of photographs to keep creatively active.

Although she grew up in Scunthorpe – and most of her family have worked at the steel works at some time in their life – Jen admits it is something she knew very little about it.

She said: “I have always had quite conflicting feelings about it – it has sort of taken on its own persona for me, like a paternal authoritarian provider held at arm’s length.”

Jen Holtridge images EMN-210706-114735001

Blending images of the works with pictures from family holidays, Jen has spent time creating a collection of digital multiple exposures, intentionally grainy and low resolution to render the drea-like perception of memories.

The result is an exhibition entitled ‘Scunthorpe-on-Sea’, which is on display at Caistor Arts and heritage Centre.

The exhibition is an exploration of the complicated relationship Jen has with the steel works in her hometown, which she describes as “an overbearing presence that can be seen, heard and smelled from far and wide, yet it remains much of a mystery.

“It rumbles and roars at night time; smoke and flames are often visible in the sky.

Jen Holtridge images EMN-210706-114807001

“The town is totally flat and it still manages to loom over you.”

The images depict calmness, people enjoying family holidays or skinny dipping, frolicking in the wake of the foreboding industrial skylines and turbulent skies, a perfectly normal juxtaposition depicting the duplicity of life in the shadow of industry.

The exhibition can be seen until June 29.

The centre and cafe is currently open from 10am to 2pm Monday to Saturday.

Jen Holtridge images EMN-210706-114753001

• Jen’s ceramics can be seen - and purchased - on her website at www.quitecontrary.co.uk/ and also at Bricktree Gallery in Caistor’s Bob’s Lane .