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Posted on 19.11.2017
A New Wedgwood – Re-inventing the British icon
British Icon, world class craftsmanship and now an amazing day out with luxury interior in the tea rooms and a museum, factory visit and the chance to have a go at getting your hands covered in the finest clay. If you think you know everything there is to know about Wedgewood?…Think again as we go behind the scenes.
Having been invited to take a tour of the new World of Wedgwood, we had an amazing day out and left feeling so full of admiration, not only for the new team who have saved this classic design brand from the brink and given it new life, but also for the man himself, Josiah Wedgwood. We have such respect for his perspective on ethics and craft and equality. He was a new man in so many ways and he really paved the way for the modern way of life we know. What a national treasure and how wonderful that his legacy is now being given such a boost on the global stage.
The colours are still as fresh and exciting today as ever…even the pipes in the factory are that famous blue. We fell in love with a stunning red coloured vase that we saw on the factory tour, but then learned this is pre-firing. The red colour is in fact a natural beetroot dye that helps the glazers see what they are doing when using white glaze. The beetroot then evaporates in the extreme heat of the kiln. Such a shame because the colour is awesome, but happily, the finished white fired version is an elegant stunner too.
The fine gold paint work of the skilled workers in the factory is mesmerising and the finished piece takes your breath away when you see the number of processes involved in the hand painting. Eye-wateringly expensive (we won't be having one in our house any time soon) but so beautiful to behold.
The classic jasperware colours, all pale blue and green and pink, inspired by the interiors of Richard Adams originally, still have influence on the way we design our homes now. There is even a new lilac coloured jasperware in the pipeline that is so of this moment. It will surely become a classic too.
Watching the skilled craftspeople at work in the factory is a joy. They have honed their skills over decades and they create pieces that really are world leading not just historic recreations. You only need to see the new collaboration with Lee Broom to see that this is a brave brand, still unafraid to invest in the future of British industry. It uses the hand lathe technique and each piece requires the skill of one man who has learned his craft for over 30 years.
...then, finally the bit we had been waiting for excitedly...!
Throwing a pot is something we have wanted to try for ages and it was hilarious. So soft and pleasing, more difficult to master than we realised, but we still managed to create little pots that we will be thrilled to receive in the post when they are fired. It’s messy work, but they have aprons and sinks to wash your hands (or arms, if like us you get a little to into it). Such fun. We giggled a lot.
The tea rooms themselves are pure interior porn with bespoke brass lighting, stunning brass and velvet Gubi bar stools and ceramic tiles bar. They even put on a fully vegan cream tea for us, the perfect compliment to the refined new tea collection they are launching. We were very impressed and recommend a trip any chance you get.
The museum on the same site as the factory is a treasure trove and adds depth to the day out....with many pieces that feel like they could have been newly launched at Design Junction this year.
Josiah himself was a complex character - ahead of his time and with an empathy for the repressed that made him a feel like a very modern man.