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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
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