Events: 15th Anniversary - Hazle's Letter

From Marilyn on 25th June 2011: Written after the event on 15th September 2005, this was Hazle's first-ever group posting. Photos of some ceramics were added to the original site in 2006. Photos for all ceramics discussed here were added in 2011. Further information is in the 15th Anniversary Catalogue pdf on this site.

At the Event: Eric Knowles with Hazle and some Painters

Eric Knowles with Hazle and Painters
From left: Carol Whaley, Hazle, Eric, Sharon Stroud (seated),
Cara Hornett, Sandra Peach and Judy Brett

Hello Everyone, Hazle speaking!

Some of you may be under the illusion that I sit in an office or at a drawing board all day. Not so… I do some painting throughout the year, am always involved in the first 20-50 of any new ceramic, and of course I train the painters and check the quality.

For this special anniversary event I have been involved to the gills in the planning and painting of everything. It has been a feast! Right from choosing and modelling three new buildings in close succession through every stage to the gilding, the final process and firing before numbering. I will be continuing to paint the whole of the L’Objet D’Art edition and have a hand in the rest all the way through the editions.

It was really good to have a special theme to work to. Eric Knowles' particular area of interest and expertise is late Victorian through to the 1930’s. It is quite a long period with different trends and design styles. Many have enjoyed revivals in our own times including William Morris and the Arts & Crafts movement. There was a revival of Art Nouveau in the 1970’s - remember all those ‘fake’ pub mirrors - many had posters by Mucha. And in the last 10 years there has been a mountain of earrings, pendants, and brooches with Charles Renee Mackintosh designs on them - although he did little, if any, jewellery in his life time! There is also a big revival of Art Deco, such as copies of work like Clarice Cliff's. This 60 year period is what first-year design students study in detail. So looking closely at it again was quite nostalgic for me.

Apart from myself, painters of these ceramics are Carol Whaley, Sharon Stroud and Cara Hornett (all shown above at the event) plus Iona Driver, Michele Bland and Doreen Bright.

Ceramics are mostly listed by theme: Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Village Collection.

La Belle Epoch L'Objet D'Art Liberty Art Nouveau
La Belle Epoch LP50 L'Objet D'Art LP50 Liberty Art Nouveau LP8

1. L’Objet D’Art

Art Nouveau objects such as lamps, ceramics and glass - all very popular at the time with very special designers coming up with new techniques and looks - like Tiffany lamps (revived in the 1990’s) and Gallé vases. In the right upstairs window I put a tiny piece which represents Linthorpe Pottery. This was a small and quite short-lived pottery in the North East of England where I lived when a student. Although already gone for several decades, I came to know and appreciate the style when I worked for the Museum Service (designing a gallery and ‘children’s zoo’). All the other artefacts are very specific and have references - no fakes here…

You can still see this lovely Art Nouveau shop-front in Market Street, Cambridge. At the moment it is a company called Dream, formerly it was a chocolatier called Maxwell & Kennedy, but it was originally installed in 1923 (rather late for Art Nouveau) for Stetchworth Dairies. I have known and loved it for decades and took photos years ago.

I modelled it because Eric Knowles is partial to Art Nouveau. He was interested in the Willow Tea Rooms building in Glasgow, designed by Mackintosh. I would love to have made this but felt the style wouldn’t suit our High Street. And we would not do justice to the building on the scale we work to.

2. La Belle Epoch

The printed image was very important around the turn of the century and there was a great explosion of printed material - posters, book covers, book-plates and illustrations being the main items. Very suitable for a building on Bond Street we thought. The title of the shop refers to the name given to this period in France and Belgium, where there was more evidence of the style. We have spelt it with an English ending instead of Époque, as it can be found in many titles. There is an amazing Art Nouveau restaurant in Paris called La Belle Époque that I can recommend.

3. Liberty Art Nouveau

As many of you know, I modelled part of the Liberty building in my first year of business, in liaison with the buyer of their china department. Just as the model was ready the buyer moved to another store and the new buyer, as is usual, didn’t want to know. They always sweep aside the interests of the last person - it’s pathological. Not quite what I said at the time! Marilyn has counted and found we cast and possibly sold around 100 over the next couple of years, mainly at Covent Garden and other fairs. Some were painted up as The George, the pub on the Strand that looks quite like it. These eight bisques came to light when we moved workshop and we thought it a great opportunity to celebrate our 15th Anniversary. The Arts & Crafts items suggested in the windows are special to Liberty as they were strongly associated with William Morris and others in the movement - and this influence fed into Art Nouveau.

Period Furniture Light Fantastic Egyptian Rooms
Period Furniture LP20 Light Fantastic LP30 Egyptian Rooms LP20

4. Period Furniture

The Grantham building has some add-ons, which were modelled, cast and painted separately. The Mackintosh wardrobe and chairs, plus other items we considered that wouldn’t fit, are so familiar to me from college days - its like painting old friends.

5. Egyptian Rooms

The opening of the tombs, celebrated in this ceramic developed by Carol, had a dramatic effect on design right into the 1930’s and this is reflected in the lighting styles.

6. Light Fantastic

Domestic or commercial lighting was a big subject for designers in the 20’s and 30’s and carried all the latest Art Deco motifs and design ideas.

Honiton Lace Decodence Ocean Cocktail Bar
Honiton Lace LP20 Decodence LP30 Ocean Cocktail Bar LP30

7. Decodence

Art Deco ceramics showing the styles of Clarice Cliff, Susie Cooper and others. Done in the orange, yellow and bright green ceramic colour palette of the times.

8. Ocean Cocktail Bar

Painted on the Cinema, itself an Art Deco building. Every era has its predominant colour ranges and the black and chrome look was one for this period. I always preferred this to the colour range of Decodence above, but until now we have not depicted it.

9. Honiton Lace

This was specially chosen for the event because of the connection with Queen Victoria, who was so committed to Windsor.

Pork Pie Shop Maxwell & Kennedy Village Antiques
Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe Maxwell & Kennedy LP150 Village Antiques Prototype

10. Maxwell & Kennedy

Just had to paint this second version on the Cambridge Art Nouveau building. This is how it was most of the time I've known it, and seems exactly right for selling chocolate!

11. Village Antiques

I so enjoyed modelling this ceramic. For a long time I’ve wanted to do the sort of antiques shop in a small town that you just can’t resist nosing in. Lots of ‘stuff’ everywhere. Trouble was, all the buildings I wanted to use were really too small to fit comfortably with our taller town models from 1999-2003. Now, with the introduction of other small buildings (all to the same scale as the originals) I could chose my favourite - this one in Uppingham - and cover it with ‘stuff’ including three Art Nouveau pieces. Sticking to our theme to the last… !

12. Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe

So, how do pork pies fit in with our theme? I’d just love to come up with some really clever connection however convoluted… but can’t possibly. (Marilyn has a go below.) I was already modelling this before planning for the event began. I love the building and it is perfect for our Village Collection. I recommend a visit - they even do Pork Pie and Sausage Experience Evenings - take a look at their web site.

You know I don’t usually do all this background writing. Thank goodness! You don’t have the time to read it all and I don’t have the time to write it! But, as some of you know, a great deal of thought, research and care goes into the making of every ceramic. This event created even more enthusiasm and attention than usual and I thought you might like to share in it. We have spent an unprecedented number of hours producing a body of work that will form part of our small legacy.

With love, Hazle

Creating the Catalogue

From Marilyn on 15th September 2005:

When we visited Barleylands before the event to take photos for Hazle’s website, I was asked to do a brief write-up of each ceramic on an A4 sheet for collectors to have on the day. Hazle showed me the materials she and the team had used to source the various period themes. Virtually all the Art Nouveau and Art Deco artefacts or motifs have been authentically copied from books. My descriptions were to be short, but to make them as meaningful as possible I did my own internet research.

As the week wore on I became ever more aware of the planning for each painting, not to mention the three new models. So it seemed only right to include thumbnails photos alongside each description. By Thursday I decided the work deserved a proper catalogue, designed thematically. There were only three days to go and it was far too late for commercial printing. Each night got shorter and the days longer.

With all the complexities and time involved it was gut-wrenching when our printer failed us after just a few decent copies. It had been working perfectly all week! Despite hours of increasingly frantic effort, most collectors ended up with rather streaky catalogues. But Hazle took one look at a good copy and announced to the audience waiting for the talk that they would print them for the Collectors’ Club.

The catalogue was enclosed with Issue 28 of High Street News in December 2005.

Later the repairman told us that every printer like ours had an inbuilt faulty print head. It was an accident waiting to happen which just chose that weekend...

Pork Pies & Event Themes

From Marilyn on 15th September:

In her letter above Hazle says she couldn’t think of a way to connect them. So I had to give it a go:

1. Made by Mary Dickinson of Melton Mowbray in the 1700s, with a hand-raised pastry case and popular with three local fox-hunts for not crumbling in pockets, the pork pie was an early fast food. Like the main Event Themes of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, it became internationally mass-produced. Art Deco motifs also appeared on modern fast conveniences!

2. The shop is still called Dickinson & Morris from the partnership between John Dickinson (Mary's grandson) and Joseph Morris in 1901 - the middle of the Art Nouveau period. Joseph shared his surname with William Morris, a founder of the Arts & Crafts movement which was an early influence on Art Nouveau.

3. In 1854 three years after Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe opened, Melton Hunt Cake, a fruitcake baked to a secret recipe, was added. As well as the edible variety, fruitcake is a British term for eccentrics - perhaps also applicable to those who collect things!

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