hot designs at Poole Pottery|
Inside Out looks at the innovative
tableware being developed by the South West's famous Poole Pottery.
known for their traditional designs, the firm's new pottery marks a change in
direction and a more contemporary style.
Red hot pottery
important new design is about to come out of the kiln at Poole Pottery.
the company's first ever batch of red tableware.
Red is a difficult colour
because red dyes are not usually safe to eat off.
There are only a few reds
on the market, but most are actually pink or orange.
Poole Pottery has invented
a red glaze that is food safe, but they don't know if it will fire properly in
The company has been working on this red crockery for three years.
it works, the company says it will be the first truly red dinner service that
has ever been made in Britain.
It's an anxious moment for designer
Karen Ford as she watches the first plates comes out of the kiln:
a little bit nervous. We have been working on this for some time. We're never
quite sure what will come out of the kilns."
Not all the
pieces have fired correctly, but the new technique has been a qualified success:
has worked but we always have to adjust the glaze... we're confident enough to
put it into production."
The red tableware
is part of a campaign to save one of the most famous names in ceramics.
Pottery has been turning out its distinctive products for more than 100 years.
in 1873 it was originally called Carter's Industrial Tile Manufactory before becoming
It was well known for producing Art Deco style pottery, and
also became one of the south's most popular tourist attractions.
old factory on the quay was knocked down five years ago to make way for luxury
The company moved to a new factory but soon ended up in administration.
has now been rescued by a business consortium, and the new man in charge has brought
in his wife as head designer.
Designed for success
will now succeed or fail on Karen Ford's new designs
And there's good news
on the way - John Lewis has agreed to stock the red dinnerware.
bad news is that Poole Pottery have only got a few weeks to turn the order around.
Karen Ford at Poole Pottery|
Managing Director Garry Hilton
and his team are also talking to Selfridges and other stores.
that he'll be able to phase in the orders so he doesn't have a huge production
job at one time.
It's hard to increase production quickly, because every
piece is hand painted.
This traditional approach is expensive - most of
Poole's competitors mass produce their ceramics in the Far East.
not just cheap foreign labour that can make Poole seem uncompetitive.
intricate designs can also add to the price.
"You have to be able to
paint it in time. It might look beautiful, but a saucer at £300 - you wont
sell very many," says Garry.
The peacock feather design is particularly
Three months later, the factory
hosts an open day for former employees and collectors.
Many of them are
fanatical about Poole Pottery.
At lunchtime, the red plates get their first
It's a tricky audience, as many of the visitors are traditionalists
who prefer the older designs.
So what they think of red dinnerware?
are a bit aghast at first - "I don't know what it would look like with gravy,"
says one former employee.
Others are instantly won over:
colour is stunning. I am going to buy some. I have done my kitchen in red and
that colour would be great".
Looking to the future
January 2006 it's time to assess how the tableware has been selling after two
months in the shops.
The big question is - has anybody been buying it?
good news is that the stores are happy with the initial response.
Pottery is also heartened by the reaction from buyers:
going to take a while to establish itself. It's going to be a niche. It's up against
some stiff competition. It's quite a radical departure." Karen Ford, designer.
red plates haven't taken the world of crockery by storm, but they haven't been
a sales disaster either.
Poole Pottery is hoping that it's another small
step on the road to recovery.
relating to this story:
BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites