|Freesia watercolour. One of the paintings submitted to SSA for membership.|
I've seen many paintings of industrial scenes of the Potteries over the years but oddly enough I appear to be the only current flower painter in the Society and I don't see many in galleries either, which came as a surprise given the tradition of floral painting within the pottery industry. Both my mother and grandmother had worked as paintresses, and I worked as a design technician in the Royal Albert division of Royal Doulton in the 1980's. Having that background in the family meant that painting was always considered a completely 'normal' activity at home. I can recall my grandmother showing me how to paint the freehand floral designs of a Hollyhock pattern that she had painted at work when she was a young woman who worked at at E Brains China.
Sadly the Staffordshire Pottery industry has declined significantly in recent years, largely due to the changing market, small producers were consumed by larger companies and much of the production was then outsourced to the middle east in the 1990's. It was no real surprise that the appeal of the product and emphasis on local skills was lost and along with it jobs.
Fortunately today there seems to be a glimmer of hope for the craftsmanship and bringing production back to the Potteries.
Funny how things come around as you get older, I'd never really had much of an interest in the history of the pottery industry, in fact I couldn't wait to get away from Stoke and thought it the most grim of places when I left.