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Friday, 6 February 2015

In the Workshop


The subject of this week's Sepia Saturday is a photo of  craftswomen in a pottery workshop.  We toured the Royal Worcester porcelain factory in the 1990s, and were able to watch the artists at work, hand painting their specialised fine designs onto the pieces before final firing, but I don't seem to have taken any photographs, or perhaps photography was not allowed. Sadly the old Royal Worcester company went into liquidation in 2008 and although the brand was bought by another pottery manufacturer, Portmeiron, it is now manufactured in Stoke-on-Trent and elsewhere, and only the Museum of Royal Worcester remains on the original Worcester site.

I thought I would post this photograph from my sister Louisa, which shows Louisa and her former husband Danny working away in their home jewellery workshop. At the time in the 1990s they were living in the little community of Totara North in the far north of New Zealand.  They sold their jewellery at local markets and art galleries and also made pieces on commission.  Louisa and Danny are no longer together and have both moved a little further south, but Louisa still creates lovely silver rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings in another home workshop at her home near Kerikeri. Danny lives in Whangerei and works out of a converted boatshed. He specialises in jade, also known as greenstone or pounami in New Zealand. You can read more about Louisa and see some of her recent work here, and she also has a Facebook page, Expressive Elements.



While looking for a copy of the workshop photograph in my mother's scrapbooks, I came across this page of postcards advertising my cousin John's jewellery shop, Youngs Jewellers in Christchurch NZ. They are not dated, but they refer to the time when the shop was located in Shades Atrium, Cashel St Mall, so it may have been while my Uncle Peter still owned the shop and specialised in antique jewellery, whereas today Youngs sells both modern and antique jewellery.  To read more about the history of Youngs in a blog I wrote recently, click here.  I would have included these postcards there if I had found them at the time, but they sort of fit in here too, being on the subject of jewellery. 



I find it interesting that one of the cards even has a photograph of an old sepia postcard within it, of a little girl at Christmas in her fur coat. From the stamp on the card, she is probably French and I wonder if this might have been a card sent to Peter by his sister Pat at some point, as she lived in French-speaking Geneva for many years. Then again, it may just be a random card found by Peter or John or one of their business partners.




For more Sepian blogs workshopping the topic this week, go to Sepia Saturday #265

12 comments:

  1. Interesting family activities.

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  2. At one time I was planning to learn how to make jewelry--one of the projects that I never got around to doing.

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  3. How great to hear about hand crafted jewelry...and see some as well. I also have interest in Royal Worcester because my wedding china pattern was from them, and my in-laws purchased much of it at the factory in 1963, while on a trip to Europe. I didn't know the plant had closed but am going to look at the museum link you gave us.

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    1. My husband's aunt lives in Worcester so we have been given quite a few pieces of Royal Worcester over the years, and have bought ourselves some too.

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  4. Pottery makers used to be common in every town when food and materials needed storage containers. Jewelry shops were the same too when everyone depended on local craftspeople to fix broken bracelets, repair watches, and fit rings.

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  5. The photo of the jewelry workshop was great. Something about photos of artists, whatever their craft, that draws us into their world. Nice set of photos.

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  6. That final card is just wonderful!

    It is so good to have the photos of the work environment. I think I may need to take some of my work soon for my future grandchildren :)

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  7. I was just given a beautiful antique sterling silver filigree turquoise/cameo flip ring. I'd never heard of flip rings before. I tried finding out about the history of them online, but no luck. I wonder if someone might know more about them?

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  8. What creative people from creative families Sepians are. That photograph of the jewellery workshop is so full of detail and interest

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  9. You came up trumps this week with the photo of the workshop. It's fascinating.

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  10. The jewllery workshop is a very good match for the prompt; it even has some pottery in it!

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  11. I wish I had the patience to learn jewelry-making. My trouble would be deciding what kind of jewelry to learn to make.

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