I had a very exciting and informative day on Friday. I had to travel from Avon to Staffordshire to visit our pot bank.
Denise, the very last working of a long and distinguished line of 'hand flower makers', in a bone china factory in England, was there to save the day. How did she save the day? .... read on the find out the whole story.
The main reason for the visit was to work with the team on the first all important colouring and decorating ideas for "Rose Garden". However, I also had to be there to meet & greet the team from the modern ceramics department of Sunderland University.
The head of ceramics there is Dr. Andrew Livingstone and he had arranged to film the complete process of the making of Rose Garden from pouring the mould through to the decoration. He asked us because, he wanted to film the (almost) long lost tradition of English bone china making, and we were the only option open to him.
We started with Rob Jones, the caster from Spode. I didn't realise that my friend and ex-colleague from Worcester, Roger Green (who was head of Worcester figurines until Worcester closed down last year) had 'bestowed' his famous cutting tool to Rob (Spode and Worcester were part of the same company).
It doesn't look much, but it was made of sharpened whale bone from a Victorian corset - the only thing flexible and strong enough to do the job of cutting a figurine ready for mould making.
It sounds a strange thing to say about an inanimate object, but I was truly glad to be re-united with this old tool. For me it represents what we are doing. My heart sang. I told Rob. He though I was just a bit mad!
We then went to Beverly the stick-up 'repairer'. She takes Rob's jigsaw of pieces (like an exploded sculpture) and puts them together. She has to have the sculptors eyes and feel, otherwise it just doesn't look the same. Under pressure, with the film crew she confessed to being nervous and 'shakey'. Despite the nerves she did a faultless job. There, before my very eyes, was my original sculpt back in one piece again!
Next was Denise the hand flower maker - a true artist amongst artists. The lady who saved the day. She is free-lance and comes in specifically to work with us to develop our flower arrangements.
Denise and I had spent an afternoon about two weeks ago carefully designing the flower arrangements for the headpiece and dress of Rose Garden. The results can be seen on the second photograph on reservation page here:- www.figurinecollect.com/limited-edition-collectible-figurine.html (if this link isn't clickable, you need to type it into your web browser to see the page).
Please do take the trouble to look if you can. I love this arrangement, which features a special and rare large 'Peony rose' in the centre. Only Denise can make these Peony roses and it is quite beautiful, and, for me, the central focus of the whole figurine.
The example which was meant to be our approved "standard" had been fired. When she saw the standard, she immediately saw that the flower arrangement was not the one we agreed. Something somewhere had happened and a different arrangement had been fired by mistake.
Immediately she was able (with cameras running) to remake the original arrangement. You really need to see the film to see how quick her hands work and the knowledge and skill involved.
Denise, thank you for saving the day.
We then went onto the decoration designers - two beautiful ladies called Yvonne and Annette (you may have already stumbled across their individual pages on the website).
They were inspired by Tony and my ideas for Rose Garden (I could see it in their eyes). Dr Livingstne filmed them do the initial base coat, but I am most exited about how they interpret our ideas.
Watch this space!.....
Coming soon... the first colour firing!
If you want to go to the website, go to www.figurinecollect.com
.... and then browse the figurine pages from there.
Don't forget this figurines section is a part of my bigger general information website call www.figurines-sculpture.com
We would love to have your feedback and 'visitor experience' here (read the ones already posted there!):-
and 'The Figurine Collective' team