Monday, 4 November 2013

Visit to Emma Bridgewater Factory

Ceramics Network Event - Report from Pam Woolliscroft

Monday 4th November 2013 saw a group of Ceramics Network members gather at the Emma Bridgewater Factory in Stoke-on-Trent for a visit. This was an opportunity to see production in a pottery factory which uses a combination modern and traditional techniques. On a frosty morning we met for a quick coffee in the lovely cafe at the factory sitting near the customised spotty AGA (yes it was on!)

Morning coffee meeting
Our guide gathered us together and took us round the main parts of the factory to see production and decorating. This was a mixed group of museum staff with varying levels of experience in the manufacture of ceramics.
Removing a slip cast mug from its plaster of Paris mould

Decorating a jug underglaze with a cut sponge
Part of the lovely old buildings at the factory
Trying to emulate the expert Bridgewater decorators...
After a delicious soup and sandwich lunch in the factory's smart cafe there was the opportunity to try to decorate our own piece. It's all very well working with ceramics collections in museums but an eye-opener when you come to have a go at decorating a piece of blank pottery. Not as easy as it seems and particularly hard to paint on biscuit ware underglaze which is like painting on blotting paper. 
I'm hoping  mine will improve when glazed and fired!
As well as adding to our pottery knowledge this was a great way to network with other curators and museum staff from around the country and discuss all things ceramic. 

Thank you to the Ceramics Network organisers for this very inspiring event and to all the staff at the Emma Bridgewater factory: our guide, potters, the workshop staff and the cafe for a great lunch.