Classifieds 50% off, use promo code FBkpkPromo The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort
The Phuket News World News
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World | Business | Q&A | Weird World XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Artisans break the mould in Britain’s pottery capital

UNITED KINGDOM: At the 18th-century Spode pottery works in Stoke-on-Trent, start-up artisans like 22-year-old Emma Price are moving into abandoned buildings and breathing new life into a once-mighty industry.

culture,


AFP

Sunday 26 February 2017, 11:00AM


Workers hand-paint crockery in the Emma Bridgewater factory, which employs around 185 people and manufactures 1.3million pieces of pottery each year in the centre of Stoke-on-Trent. Photo AFP
Workers hand-paint crockery in the Emma Bridgewater factory, which employs around 185 people and manufactures 1.3million pieces of pottery each year in the centre of Stoke-on-Trent. Photo AFP

The 10-acre site in the heart of the Staffordshire city in central England whose name worldwide is synonymous with pottery has become a creative hub that is drawing in a new generation.

“It’s a real privilege to be on this site,” said Price, wearing blue overalls flecked in plaster, as she worked on the mould for a bowl.

“This offers me the opportunity to do my own thing and gives me the space to work in and do what I’m passionate about,” she said.

“A lot of people now are starting to move away from the mass-produced work and want something that’s more bespoke.”

Iconic Stoke brands such as Wedgwood, Royal Doulton and Spode are renowned across the globe for their fine chinaware.

On a rich seam of clay in England’s West Midlands, Stoke became the world centre of pottery production by 1800.

Now fewer than 10,000 people still work in an industry that once employed 80,000 in Stoke, as factories closed and production shifted to Asia over the last 20 years.

But young artists are making the most of the latent factory space, skills and expertise that still exist in the 250,000-strong city, not to mention the coveted “Made in Stoke-on-Trent” backstamp.

At the Spode works, founded in 1767, a few dozen artisans have moved into the derelict buildings.

Cobwebbed storehouses on the site are stuffed with Spode moulds from the past, stacked on wooden shelves marked with names like Louis XV, Old Comport and Rose Tazza.

The cavernous China Hall, once bustling with people and machines, now stands like an empty cathedral, filled with light and silence.

Ceramic artist Jo Ayre, 34, works in a makeshift studio just off the China Hall, in a space formerly known as Scorpion Alley, so fierce was the reputation of the women who worked there.

Besides producing her own works, she runs adult learning classes, teaching groups of locals who want to know more about the craft that made their city’s name.

Among those taking their first steps in learning how to manipulate the clay was 36-year-old barber Craig Urwin.

“We are doing it in the old-fashioned way, by hand. It’s fascinating,” he said.

C and C Marine

“We’ve probably got ancestors who did work here or in other factories.”

Ayre, who hails from Stoke, trained at the Royal College of Art in London but moved back in 2015.

“There’s so much space, people you can talk to who know a tremendous amount about ceramics, so it feels like there’s endless possibilities here.”

In 2011, Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, stepped in to save Middleport Pottery, another historic site and the home of Burleigh chinaware.

As part of the regeneration project, artists have moved in there too, while the new visitor centre tells people about traditional pottery production.

Laura Cohen, Chief Executive of the British Ceramic Confederation trade association, said the industry was in good health in Stoke as sales and employment had surged since the depths of the recession in 2010.

“It forced those companies that were surviving to look at their business models, to think about how they can become truly world-class,” she said.

Steph Woodhouse, spokeswoman for the Emma Bridgewater factory, one of the more established brands, said: “We’ve seen a real return of artisan potters coming back to Stoke to utilise the skills and experience.”

Bridgewater began producing ceramics on a tiny scale in Stoke in 1985, and bought the Victorian-era Meakin factory in 1996 as the business expanded.

The pottery now produces 32,000 hand-made, hand-decorated items per week and exports internationally.

Some 250 people work in the Bridgewater factory, from the men casting the clay to the women using traditional sponging techniques to press on the decoration.

John Buckley, 59, has been working in potteries since he was 16.

“The mining’s gone, the steel’s gone, there’s only this, really,” he said of Stoke’s traditional industries.

“I’m surprised this is still going, and it’s coming back, and I’m proud to be part of it.”

 

 

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:
    Forget your password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments



Canadian expat Muay Thai fighter found dead of suspected hanging in Patong

"* The Phuket News is withholding the man’s identity until it has been confirmed that his next of kin have been notified." Then why pub...(Read More)


August 3 set as final deadline for Patong taxis to return parking spaces to public

Jor 12; for such a "wordly" figure such as yourself how is it you cannot comprehend a simple comment / point of view in direct contrast to y...(Read More)


4.2mn meth tabs, 26kg crystal meth, 40kg ketamine seized

Excellent, if only the traffic police were as good!...(Read More)


Canadian expat Muay Thai fighter found dead of suspected hanging in Patong

Matthew Richardson was a gentleman Canadian who lived and breathed Muaythai, who chose to live and train in a foreign land whose culture and people he...(Read More)


August 3 set as final deadline for Patong taxis to return parking spaces to public

BenPendejo...it's is precisely the point given that you say, "...me shining yet another light on the fact that the BIBs are corrupt to the ...(Read More)


August 3 set as final deadline for Patong taxis to return parking spaces to public

Pauly44...Sympathy? of what exactly? Given that you know nothing about me, I don't know how you arrive at your conclusion that I have "lost t...(Read More)


August 3 set as final deadline for Patong taxis to return parking spaces to public

Pendejo,if someone doesnt complain all the time about the job the "BIBs"are doing or not doing,doesnt mean they agree or holding them in hig...(Read More)


August 3 set as final deadline for Patong taxis to return parking spaces to public

i hope the tuk tuk"s force a mexican stand off and get their arses kicked by a few RPG"S. Seriously, i dont think anything will happen as ha...(Read More)


August 3 set as final deadline for Patong taxis to return parking spaces to public

So Eagle/Joe 12/Jor12, by me shining yet another light on the fact that the BIBs are corrupt to the core and that they disproportionately target faran...(Read More)

The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
PHUKET NEWS
Phuket
Thailand
World
Business
Q A
Weird World
ARCHIVE
POLL
CURRENCY
WEATHER
PHUKET TIDE TABLE
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
Photo Galleries
COLOURING BOOK
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket
Thailand
World
SURF REPORT
PREDICTIONS
The Phuket News PHUKET CLASSIFIEDS
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
SEARCH CLASSIFIEDS
POST CLASSIFIED
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
POST EVENT
The Phuket News PHUKET DIRECTORY
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
POST LISTING
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Subscribe
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
CONTESTS
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
 
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2017 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.