Saturday, March 15, 2014

Excursion to Dorset/ Poole Pottery factory visit

Left: Inside the cabinets owned by the amazing Just Collectables, UK at the Poole Factory, Delphis pieces for sale,
Right: The exterior of the factory, The building behind replaced the original factory

A few Delphis pieces inside cabinets at The Poole Museum, well worth a look,
They have a small but amazing collection of key pieces on the top floor

Left: Art Deco 1920's/ 30's Flora pieces, Right: Tiles in the Poole Museum 

Left: Racks of vintage Poole Pottery for sale, The Quay Factory store
Right: In the cabinet, Bird designed by Robert Jefferson, 1964, In display cabinet (NFS)

Left: The Cafe upstairs with some old photograph panels of Artists at work
Right: Close up of 1950's promotional platter on display at Poole Museum.

Left: Twin Tone Poole cups and saucers for sale at The Poole Factory
Right: At The Poole Museum, Carter and Company designed by Arthur Nickols, 1950's

Pieces I bought, Left to right: In Seagull, 1950's planter and posy vase,  Lime Yellow bud vase

Pieces I bought: Robert Jefferson Dagger, 1964, Poole Studio piece, 1960's,
Twin tone jug in a deep blue I have not seen before 

Pieces I bought: From Left to right: Carol Culter Delphis platter,
Lucullus range egg baker, 1962 by Robert Jefferson, small dish, Artist unknown 

Left: The Swan Inn still existing (Thank goodness) It is on the market currently but had been
boarded up for many years, Right: Older storefronts in Poole

Close up of The Swan Inn tiles, I believe they where made by Carter, Stabler and Adams

Left: The beautiful countryside you will encounter traveling into Dorset, just spectacular!
Right: The Poole Arms, The facade completely covered in beautiful green tiles, 

Left: Driving out of Poole, Dorset, after a long day on the road, Closeup of Delphis piece 

Left: Mural being installed as we were there from the 70's/ 80's, Right: Agean collection for sale 

Left: Tiles from original tearoom, about 1930, Carter & Co, designed by Edward Bawden
and a random selection of tiles from the 1940's/ 50's

Recently I took the journey of a lifetime, for me it was a big thing but I kept it low key, I quickly slipped into Poole, Dorset under the radar to finally visit a place I had dreamed of visiting most of my life. What better way than to spend it with my dearest school friend Kylie who full knows my passion for Poole Pottery and who is currently living in Cambridge with her husband Mike and their 2 kids Amelia and Rufus. When Kylie suggested a road trip south some time ago, we knew it was a mission we had to accomplish, even with a 4 year old in tow who promptly declared after arriving in Poole after being woken up her from a deep nap in the car that she did not want to go into the factory and stamped her feet declaring she “hated Poole Pottery” ; ) With lures of candy and painting a plaster butterfly, She however promptly felt at home.

I kept a hopeful and brave face as I walked into The Quay, what seemed almost a former part of The Poole Factory, I knew from my research that most of the existing structures covered in beautiful Poole tiled murals where gone, most recently one of the last structures by a bland unimpressive structure (nothing to do with the factory) on the water which seemed a shame. The current complex clearly in it's current state it is fair to say has become less an obvious factory but more like a discount department store selling random merchandise such as suitcases and sensible shoes. Apparently now catering for a “coach crowd” The Poole Factory as it is now seems has in general become more a haven for bargain shoppers than lovers of pottery it seems?

However I know as a Stylist and Creative you have to dig deeper if you want more from an experience and I was not disappointed for amongst the random selection of less desirable merchandise lay the jewel in the faded crown, At the back of the store on the lower floor was where the magic happened and my excitement rose as I spotted cabinets of vintage 20th century Poole for sale and shelves of overstock from the 1950’s till now. The company Just Collectables operated by John Lejune has an amazing collection of vintage Poole on display to view and much for sale.

For most who know me Poole Pottery has been a passion ever since I was a teenager, I have to say know a bit but I certainly don’t know it all, There are many people very passionate about Poole Pottery and there are sites (As listed below, please check them out) of people who really do know there stuff. 

For people who do not know in a nutshell, Poole (Formerly Carter, Stabler & Adams amongst other names)  is an amazing company that produced an astounding array of very influential styles, silhouettes and artistry pottery and ceramics last century, they still continue to work with some amazing artists who you can witness still painting their newer pieces at the factory which is a refreshing site. With my first visit I was slightly overwhelmed, Actually visiting a place where you can breathe in the history can be enlivening and if you half squint and let you imagination go you can see the glory of the former years come alive. I can also see how Poole as a town and a place that captures people’s passion and hearts. 

I walked around the waterfront with Kylie and Amelia and through the town itself and fell in love with it, being half English on my mother’s side I always feel at home in the UK and things seem familiar and comforting. Poole has some amazing buildings still, I really hope all efforts are made to not tear these down. I have to say too the countryside driving in and out of Poole in Dorset is breathtaking and well worth the trip in itself. Also make a point if you go of visiting the Poole Museum with the top floor devoted to Poole Pottery. 

I bought some pieces quite randomly, choosing items that I felt a connection too, there was honestly so many and with a budget in mind, I had to be sensible, I am not sure that I came away with the most collectible and valuable pieces available, but they are pieces I did not have already and honestly my collection as a whole is piddly compared to serious collectors. 

I did however as a Creative in the design industry and a lover of company branding, I came away thinking of all the amazing things you could do with Poole Pottery, with the catalog of work and the history intact, I believe it has such amazing potential. The company had been in harder times, now owned by of Lifestyle Group Ltd, which also owns Royal Stafford Tableware, I hope their attention really shifts to build back up the brand. As a big fan of the Poole Pottery of the past, I know I certainly have many ideas, I am itching to see Poole Pottery reemerge and be a forerunner in the minds of lovers of ceramics and pottery, It needs to speak to a new generation that appreciates and are keen to learn about the legacy of the brand and a part of the English and International design world in general. 

Other great sources with a much more in-depth and researched angle on Poole are:

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