The Pottery Museum was an incredible insight into manufactured British ceramics and its history through a wide ranging collection. In contrast the gallery had a selection of the finest contemporary studio ceramics assembled for a Biennial award.
Walking around the city of Stoke, the empty factories and bricked houses where the factory workers used to live let me a feeling of sadness and a sentimental view of what this place used to be. In some ways it seems a bit lost, a stagnant pond but there is possible change in the air with the Biennial, the Princes Trust support for Burleigh Pottery and the skilled work of the local artists potters .
The people were friendly and helpful, the working class of the North with their traditional industry taken away putting a brave face on things.
Spode, an empty ceramic factory in Stoke host the Ceramic Biennial 2011
My arrival to Spode, one of the largest, oldest, empty factories in Stoke on Trent brought me a mix of feelings with it. Initially I was struck by the grandeur of the factory and imagined it with all the people working in the production of the famous white and blue ware that they used to export everywhere. Later on the cheap labor & production of this ware in Indonesia and China culminate in the closing of more that 160 ceramic factories around Stoke on Trent.
The ghost factory host for the second year the ceramic biennial where a representation of the work produced by new ceramicists in British Universities and studios (and a beautiful memory and representation of the people who worked there) brings an open door to the continuing practice of ceramics in Britain. Coming full circle the ceramics is once again made by individual potters who had been replaced by the now redundant pottery industry.