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2022 Annual Weekend and AGM
(Uploaded 12/09/22)

2022 annual weekend display cabinets

We’re back – after three years there were smiling faces as members met face to face again at a Shelley weekend gathering. Little did we know when we said farewell in Telford in 2019 how long it would be before we would hold a silent auction or pot show again. After checking in at the Holiday Inn, registering and catching up with news, dinner was followed by a social event with teams joining in a series of brain teasers set by Olwen Dudgeon.

quiz 2022
Wileman and Shelley terms hidden in sentences, spotting changes in pairs of fishing and cricket pictures, a memory test of 20 items on a tray and finally a food and drink quiz were met with the usual groans. When Elaine Whittaker counted up the points the winning team was Wild Flowers. After such a mentally exhausting evening it was time to retire to bed or the bar!
The next morning the weekend continued with a welcome, particularly to American and Australian members from Chairman, Gerry Pearce who said Zoom meetings had been very successful during the Covid restrictions but could not replace meeting together.

The first speaker was Eileen Gore on What, Where, Why, Wileman,Eileen Gore who described how she and Carl became intrigued by pieces of crested ware which were issued for one-off events. The first chosen were some issued for the Irish International Exhibition of 1907 held in Dublin. The gathering in Herbert Park promoting business, was visited by nearly three million people. The second event featured was the 1905 Sherborne pageant in Dorset, celebrating the 1200th anniversary of Aldheim’s arrival. An accomplished Latin scholar, he founded Sherborne School and was later made a saint. The final event featured was a puzzling mention on a Wileman beaker which referred to Catcleugh reservoir in Northumberland but the date of 1903 doesn’t seem to match the year it was completed. Finding out the information behind the items certainly makes collecting interesting, said Carl.

1933 Silver catalogue
Next was a talk by Linda Ellis on the 1933 Booklet of Fashionable China, an advertising brochure which although the period of sharp, angular china still included the Gainsborough cup shape. The first page detailed the composition of Shelley sets split between china and semi-porcelain. Patterns covered included Queen Anne 11678 which we know as Sunrise and Tall Trees. A 21-piece-teaset would cost you £2 while a two-pint teapot would set you back 12 shillings. Pages two and three featured Eve and Regent. Although a Regent shape coffee pot was available at that time the teapot shown with sets was Globe shaped. Page four had a Vincent with Eve Gladioli on the opposite page. Page six placed an emphasis on dinnerware with a new shape Mayfair on the facing page. More Eve, Regent and Vogue follow but on page 14 is a reworking of the old favourite Dainty by adding a floral handle. On pages 18 and 19 the brochure listed everything available in Dainty White and lastly a list of the Jelly Moulds. Lots of fascinating information.

Ben Miller, assistant Curator of Stoke Pottery Museum
After a break Ben Miller, assistant curator of Stoke’s Pottery Museum spoke on Staffordshire Hospitality, describing how the areas production was used in catering at bars, hotels and businesses around the world. Excavations at a former hotel site in New Orleans and a tavern in Michigan both revealed shards from the potteries, as did a dig in Jamaica. He described how Shelley appeared on items used by several sailing clubs.

Stirling display 2022 Annual Weekend After lunch John Barter described how his enjoyment of Shelley’s Stirling shape stemmed from his interest in the 1951 Festival of Britain. A desire for more modern shapes led to its development in 1956 by Eric Slater although there were only a limited number of patterns applied. It seems to have fallen out of favour within about five years, despite being particularly popular in Sweden, but the cup shape was relaunched with a different handle as the Avon shape in 1964. Some patterns utilised elements of previously used ones, others were designed specifically for the shape. In 1959, two, Evergreen and Pastoral were exhibited at The Design Centre. Other patterns included Golden Willow, Symphony, Fantasy, Harmony, Snow Crystals and Enchantment. A Stirling dinner service was among the displays on show.John French painting demo 2022 Annual Weekend

Jon French, who at a previous Shelley weekend gave us a demonstration of throwing pottery, this time showed techniques for painting china. With his actions filmed close-up so all could see, his skill was amazing to watch while some exquisite examples of his work were on sale and display.

AGM 2022 The Annual General Meeting began with apologies and a minute’s silence for members who had died since we last met. Chairman Gerry Pearce outlined key issues in his report including membership, the excellent magazines, the shop, our website and the impact of Covid on live meetings and the Potteries Museum exhibition. The necessity for enhancing electronic communication he said, had led to a review of the Group’s constitution, Standing orders and Data Privacy Policy. The Treasurer, Linda Ellis outlined the main elements of the accounts over two years and it was agreed there be no change to subscriptions for 2023/24. She was thanked for all her work. When it came to the election of the Committee, Gerry said there were issues Retiring editors David and Shirley Deller about unfilled vacancies. David Cox had agreed to be Secretary, but David and Shirley Deller had decided to retire as Magazine Editor and Assistant after 16 years. He had agreed to stay until the end of 2022 but clearly finding a replacement would be a task. Presentations were made to both in appreciation of their splendid service to the Group. Shirley has agreed to remain as welfare officer but not as a Committee member. The rest of the Committee were re-elected but vacancies also still exist for a Midlands representative and Events Officer if any member would like to volunteer. Steve Palmer expressed the gratitude of all present to the Chairman and Committee.

After voting on the pot show it was time to get ready for the Gala Dinner, preceded by the Silent Auction, which featured a huge variety of items from large Wileman jugs to miniatures, with a percentage of the sale price going to Group funds.

montage Sat evening Annual Weekend 2022

Jon French was the after-dinner speaker. He grew up near Colchester but moved to Stoke after gaining a placement at Wedgwood following a trade test. At that time they employed 4,500 people. He began working on special order pieces from the early 1990s and that took him abroad for the company. In 2016 he went to work for himself in Middleport Pottery and also started teaching, sometimes children with learning difficulties. He is also doing work with a clay producing company which is now expanding. He told members: “I’m a great believer if you train people to produce beautiful pieces you will always get someone to buy it.” But he said he was his own worst critic “that’s what makes a craftsman. You have to balance being a craftsman and making a living, sometimes you can’t spend as much time as you would like on pieces.” Gladys Smith was the happy winner of the raffle for a wonderful cake featuring the Enchantment pattern made by Enid Foley, which raised £180 for group funds.

Sunday morning began with the winning pot show entries sporting their rosettes. Steve Palmer came pulled off a double by coming both first and second with his Dam Busters and Dancing in the Moonlight with Howard Ward coming third with Tulips from Amsterdam.

montage Sunday Annual Weekend 2022

This year’s Shelley snake, made up from items brought by the members, was based on the letter Y, completing the word Shelley. Yellow was a popular colour for items featured ranging from dog roses and Lakeland patterns on Regent to flower butter dishes but there were also crests from Yeovil and York, as well as York shaped cups and saucers. Next year will be W as we start to work through Wileman.

original designs from the pattern books That was followed by Chris Davenport taking us through some more Original Designs and Drawings from the Factory. These ranged from a pencil drawing of Lady Godiva on a piece of card with Walter Slater’s initials to the original blue dragon design pattern number 8315. He also showed some more of Walter’s hand-painted designs. He also showed Number 7662, Surrey scenery which has six different scenes and the hand painted examples are slightly curved to be used on a plate or saucer.

Gerry Pearce talk Flights of Fancy The final talk was Flights of Fancy, prepared by Sheila Aves and Gerry Pearce. Our President told the gathering that should be, according to Wikipedia, “extremely imaginative and which appears to be entirely unrealistic, untrue and impractical.” In the case of Shelley and Wileman that included the Fairy shape and fairies on Hilda Cowham, the Boo-Boos of Mabel Lucie Atwell, Cherubs, Puck and Ariel and a witch on different Intarsio pieces and mythical dragons on Faience and blue dragon. There were also some strange grotesques including another dragon and a hedge pig and a rare goblin on Gainsborough. Other flying mentions included Bubbles pattern and butterflies such as the vibrant Butterfly wing on Mode and Walter Slater lustre ware.

After lunch the Bring and Buy was set up and did brisk business while there was a special sale of items at the Shelley shop as David and Shirley cleared items from their cupboards. There was another of Enid’s delicious cakes to sample and the Sunday raffle prize of a vase painted by Ray Reynolds was won very aptly by Enid herself. The weekend continued on Monday for a small group of members who went to see the Wileman and Shelley pattern books and Ray Reynolds scrap book held by Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service.