Mandy’s tears of joy over success of installation

Mandy Johnson and Deborah Tompsett

Mandy Johnson and Deborah Tompsett - Credit: Archant

A critically-acclaimed installation, which had its first ever private viewing in St Albans, has raised over £1,000 for a local mental health charity.

Thousand Bottles of Tears, created by ceramic artist Deborah Tompsett, was exhibited at Grant Thornton in the city and has benefitted Mind Mid Herts.

Over 50 guests visited the exhibition, including the Deputy Mayor of St Albans, Cllr Gill Clark, local art enthusiasts and people touched by mental health issues.

The installation was organised by local resident Mandy Johnson with the support of her father John Forrest after her aunt took her own life two years ago.

Thirty limited edition tear bottles, made especially for the event, were sold on the night and guests had the opportunity to try their hand at pottery making to create their own tear bottles in exchange for a donation.

Each of the thousand tear bottles was individually thrown on a potter’s wheel from lumps of clay representing the size of a man, woman and child’s heart. As a result each vessel had a distinct look and feel to emphasise the uniqueness of individuals whilst showing the common language of tears and the emotional experiences.

Commenting on the exhibition, Mandy Johnson said: “There are references to tear bottles throughout history from pilgrims in the Bible carrying tear bottles on their long journeys to Victorians using the vessels to catch tears and wait for them to evaporate, symbolising the end of mourning.

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“Deborah’s display highlights how everyone, throughout history to the present day, has to cope with the same emotional struggles.

“I experienced first-hand the impact of mental health issues two years ago when my aunt took her own life.

“I am hugely grateful for the support of all those who attended the private viewing to help raise awareness of those struggling with mental health challenges and to ensure people do not have to face these difficulties alone.”