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Community Projects
(Updated 28/06/24)

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.

The Ray Reynolds Memorial Award 2024

Each year the Shelley Group makes an annual award, in the form of a Bursary for £500, to a student of Ceramics at the University of Staffordshire. This is a splendid way of commemorating our great friend, Ray Reynolds, and linking him and us with the cutting-edge of UK Ceramics.
On 27 March 2024, David Cox and Chris Davenport attended the Stoke Campus where they met with Prefessor Tim Forrester to consider this year's award. There were just four students for consideration - Garry Heath, Kurt Powell, Kyja Welburm and Karamdeep Sohal.
Gary was working with timber and eartheware shaped into loudspeaker/horn shapes. The ceramic horn curved upwards to accommodate and iPhone or similar phone which helps to amplify the sound.
Kurt was experimenting with different clays to achieve a variety of effects by glaze testing and firing. As a caster he already knew how to make moulds and was looking to broaden his work by producing a variety of shapes, designs and glazes.
Kyja was working with porcelain. Her main interest was turning on a wheel to produce vases in varying shapes and sizes as can be seen in the photo. She too was experimenting with different glazes, mainly in blues and greens to fing the right balance for her vision.
Karamdeep was inspired by her culture and wanted to bring this into her designs. She produced a teapot in an unusual shape. Moulds have been made and the teapot is due to be produced. Karamdeep was also working onproducing cups and plates with different designs to the outside of the pieces, using laser cutting designs and hand decoration.

2024 student awards

After having lengthy discussions of the various merits of each student there was a clear winner of the award in Karandeep with her designs inspired by her cultural heritage. It was also decided to award two Shelley bursaries to Kyja and Kurt to help with defraying the high costs of ceramic clays and materials. All four students received a copy of our latest 'Shelley Magazine' and a piece of Shelley/Wileman as a momento.

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

Previous Years Awards

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 ArchivesPhotos
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

UPDATE (06/24):- A further pattern book was discovered when it was entered for auction at Adam Partridges auction in Macclesfield, Cheshire, in May 2023. With a generous donation by a Group member the book was purchased and subsequently received the same conservation treatment as previous volumes have done. The book only shows the designs for the Second Series Intarsio ware which would have been created by Walter Slater and several are in his handwriting. It is now on loan to the Stoke on Trent City Archives for public viewing and research.