Undoubtedly one of the best perks of being a volunteer at The Wedgwood Museum is having the opportunity to explore the permanent exhibition whenever the mood takes you. Even after numerous expeditions around the gallery I am always discovering new objects that have escaped my notice, such is the magnitude of material we have in our collection.
The gallery also highlights the sheer number of designers that kept Wedgwood at the forefront of trends over hundreds of years; Robert Minkin, Eric Ravilious and Susie Cooper to name just a few whose creative legacies still influence designers today.
For our Christmas Fairyland event on 7th December we have invited students from undergraduate and postgraduate ceramics and design courses at Staffordshire University to create original works to sell at a craft market. The theme that we gave to them was Wedgwood designers and to get their creative juices flowing we invited them to the museum to take a tour of the gallery, enjoy a closer look at our very precious archive pattern books and to handle some of the exquisite pieces in our collections.
We then paid a visit to their studios at the University to find out how they were progressing with the project. Below we spotlight just a few of the students who will be creating pieces for Christmas Fairyland.
Anthony and Colleen (MA Ceramic Design) showed us their delicate pieces created from bone china. Both talked of how enjoyable they found the project. Colleen said, ‘To me, the chance to put the fact that you’ve done a brief for Wedgwood on your CV is great.’
We loved the futuristic designs of Allie (BA 3D Design), working with black jasper who explained, ‘I’ve always associated Wedgwood with the blue and white jasper, but looking at all the new designs, I wanted to do something slightly different with the jasper.’
Noriko’s (MA Ceramic Design) imaginative use of Wedgwood handle moulds to form heart shaped decorations had us swooning. Explaining her decision to study at Staffordshire University she said, ‘I think anywhere in the world, if you say you’re studying in Stoke-on-Trent, if you’re a ceramics person, you’re really impressed.’ This was a sentiment echoed by almost all of the students that we spoke to.
Daisy Makeig-Jones’s Fairyland Lustre designs informed the work of Francesca (BA 3D Design) an overseas student from Italy, in her exquisite Christmas decorations. ‘The beautiful thing I appreciate in the Fairyland Lustre collection are the little details. My pieces are retracing the shapes of my favourite designs.’
Taking a detour from ceramics, Katie and Maria’s (BA Surface Pattern Design) textiles are characterised by a vivid colour palette that borrows heavily from the new Wedgwood Harlequin designs, with prints inspired by vintage Queen’s Ware design; an exciting combination of Wedgwood old and new. For the craft market they will be creating a wide range of products from children’s clothing to kitchen linens.
The designs of Molly and Kayleigh (BA Textile Surfaces) also sought to merge traditional associations into a modern format through applying Wedgwood backstamps and imagery onto textile surfaces using a mixture of printing and embroidery.
From what we saw of the works in progress at the university we know that there will be some extraordinary pieces at the craft market. We are delighted to be collaborating with these students who are proof positive that the creative industry in Stoke-on-Trent is still alive and kicking. Don’t miss out on the chance to own some truly ambitious, inventive and unique handcrafted pieces.
Christmas Fairyland at The Wedgwood Museum takes place on December 7th from 7pm to 9.30pm. Tickets cost £5 each and can be booked by phoning 01782 371900 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets can also be bought on the night. For more details please see our Facebook page.