This year Christmas came early for Decorum, in the form of a visit to the newly opened World of Wedgwood in Stoke-on-Trent.
In the past few months we have worked closely with Wedgwood on the Wedgwood Home Fabrics and Wallcoverings collection by Blendworth, officially launched at Decorex International in September. Having gained insight into the brand and fallen in love with its archive, we jumped at the opportunity to visit the newly opened brand experience, bringing to life Wedgwood’s 250 years in the British ceramics industry.
Our visit started with – courtesy of Chris, Wedgwood’s Group Business Development Director – a tour of Wedgwood’s new office space and its thriving design studio. We were privileged to see the collections launching in 2016 and while we can’t share any details we can reveal that they present a striking and contemporary creative direction for Wedgwood.
We explored the brand’s museum which is home to the Wedgwood Collection, one of the most important ceramic collections in the world. It presents the illustrious history of the brand, from its beginnings with Josiah Wedgwood revolutionising the ceramics industry, through its global expansion, to today’s wealth of designs and collaborations. Among the tour’s highlights were the discovery that Josiah Wedgwood was the grandfather of Charles Darwin, seeing tens if not hundreds of trials for developing their famous Jasperware, as well as seeing the Frog service, a 50-person set intended for dinner and dessert, featuring a total of 1222 views of British landscapes, antiquities and gardens. The set was created especially for the Empress Catherine II of Russia.
Following the museum visit, we entered the Wedgwood factory, which was the most enlightening part of our experience. Here we discovered the labour-intense process of creating Wedgwood ceramics, involving hours of craftsmanship from Wedgwood’s skilled artisans. Casting, figure making, pattern decorating, hand painting, ornamentation and gilding are only a few of the techniques honed at Wedgwood. For me the most captivating was the precision of craftsmen hand painting and gilding individual plates and cups as well as creating Jasperware pieces with carefully cut and placed relief decorations.
We also had a chance to test ourselves at the potter’s wheel, throwing our very own vases – it was a great fun, yet even creating a simple design like ours required detailed instructions from the Wedgwood potters who showed great focus and skill.
Our day at the World of Wedgwood had an exquisite finale with an afternoon tea at the newly opened Tea Room. We can confirm that the teas and food were as delicious as the interiors were beautiful! We had the pleasure of sharing our afternoon tea with Chris from Wedgwood, gaining further insight into the company, its plans for 2016 and beyond. We’re already looking forward to seeing the Wedgwood Home collection launch at Maison et Objet in January and to working on the second collection of fabrics and wallcoverings developed in collaboration with Blendworth later next year.
If you’re passionate about design, love ceramics and heritage and are simply after a wonderful day out, make sure you book your tickets to World of Wedgwood immediately – it’s a perfect Christmas gift!