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Community Projects

The Shelley Group is a collectors’ club with research and educational aims. We are a Registered Charity - No.1097547. and in support of this and our stated object of public education and promotion of the products of Wileman and Shelley Potteries, we engage in a variety of community activities.

Conservation of Shelley Pattern Books

Following the successful bid by the Art Fund to purchase the Minton Archive in 2015, the Group has worked with Stoke City Archives to catalogue and digitise the Shelley Pattern Books which formed part of that collection. Many of the books are in a state of decay and in need of urgent work to stabilise them and prevent further deterioration. Three of the books which contained work done by Ray Reynolds (the last Decorating Manager of Shelleys), were selected by his daughters for restoration, and financed by donations made following Ray's death, specifically for that purpose. The remaining books have been examined by a conservator and a schedule of repairs agreed. It is considered that any work should be of a minimal nature to preserve as much of the original books as possible whilst improving their structural integrity and allow their further use for research. The cost of conserving these remaining books, which will run well into five figures, is being shared between the UK, USA, and Australian collecting groups.

Sue & Jill (Rey Reynolds daughters) with Chris Latimer of Stoke City Archives


Left: Sue and Jill ( Ray Reynold's daughters) with Chris Latimer of Stoke City Archives

Below left: The extensive deterioration of some of the pattern books

Below centre: Books 13 and 17 after conservation. Book 13 has had sympathetic repairs to the spine whilst Book 17 has received a complete new cover

Below right: The dedication to Ray placed in some of the books.

photo montage of pattern book conservation

2019 Student Awards

For the sixth year the Shelley Group has made a donation to a student taking a ceramic design course at the Staffordshire University in Stoke on Trent. ln past years we have only seen students from the Master of Arts (MA) course but this February we had a mixture of MA and third year Bachelor of Arts (BA) students. The course leader changed during 2018, following the retirement of Professor Sanderson. The new leader is Tim Forrester; full of ideas to take the course and its students forward in the ever-changing world of design and innovation. The standard of work from all students was extremely high and coupled with their enthusiasm and expectations of a future in ceramics, made choosing the most deserving student very difficult. A wish to award them all was not practical. There was a winner but no losers, only runners up.

Wiktoria Holubecka winner of 2019 student awardVariety of Wiktoria's work
The selection panel chose
Wiktoria Holubecka, a Polish student who moved to UK with her parents when 11 years old. Displays of work from five BA students was seen and the work of Wiki (pronounced Viki) was considered the most accomplished and the use of different media (wood and plastics) combined with the china was attractive and imaginative. She showed an aptitude for producing practical, usable table ware but also dainty decorative pieces. Wiki was delighted to receive a £500 cheque towards the cost of the course and additional materials.

Debbie and Kian with Charman, Gerry Pearce Faced with also seeing work from the MA students, the selection committee decided to make a second award of £300, jointly to partners from Singapore,
Debbie Ng and Loh Lik Kian. The couple had 15 years of ceramic work behind them in Singapore Debbie and Kians workbut largely self-taught and they wished to take the more structured MA course to learn or improve skills. The output from the two was exceptional, Debbie concentrating on practical, modular ware in subtle colours, whilst Kian perhaps took a more adventurous approach. His modular “eggs” were quite stunning, artistically and technically. When asked, he owned up to many firings before perfecting the technique for the perfect fit. His other speciality shown was finned or grooved pieces. The precision of the moulded pieces was quite staggering with the very fine fins and again, perfectly fitting lids where needed.

We are proud to be able to assist students in this way and to share in enjoying their efforts.

Previous Years Awards