From Marilyn on 9th October 2006:
Because of the cheap imports that Stephen refers to in the Standard Prices versus Specials article, Hazle fears that the great tradition of British ceramics could follow the Dutch into virtual extinction. Ever more work is outsourced to the Far East at a fraction of the cost.
From Eric Knowles at the 15th Anniversary Event on 11th September 2005
Stephen asked if Hazle Ceramics being British-made was important in today’s market and Eric replied emphatically, “Yes, Yes, Yes”. He also thought it important for ceramics to be painted with British themes. Eric went on to say that so many British industries had gone by the wayside including mining and the cotton mills - with which his family once had a strong connection. Now he was watching Stoke-on-Trent, the centre of The Potteries go through “a very tricky time... a very tricky time”.
There was this new word he wanted to get right... “O-U-T-S-O-U-R-C-I-N-G which basically means, 'We’re going to sack you and give your job to someone in China who’ll do it for a bowl of rice.’ Don’t be fooled by something like Royal Worcester which says Printed in England! Royal Doulton is also now outsourced and I know the Americans don’t want it because they tell me. They want something Made in England”.
Hazle explained how her labels used to say, Modelled and hand-painted in England and people rang asking, “But where are they actually made?” So now they say, Designed, made and hand-painted in England.
In a discussion about forgeries Eric and Hazle agreed that the painting of outsourced items often gave the game away. Forged Moorcrofts had been appallingly painted and on some Hazles paint could literally be scratched off. Eric knew of ceramics made in China where Coats of Arms had painter's directions eg an arrow marked Red, another saying Yellow and so on! On some forged Hazles, items such as a sweets jar had been copied strangely - as if the painter did not know what they were. Eric said there were now laws to prevent companies having to use their own money to protect designs, as Hazle Ceramics had once needed to do.
In December 2003 during discussions on the proposed Village Collection Marilyn wrote:
Royal Doulton recently lost the franchise for Beatrix Potter figurines to Border Fine Arts (Enesco). The actual ceramics are now made in Malaysia and the retail price is less than half what it was. I bought some for a niece without being aware of the issues involved, although of course I am happy to support the Third World.
Except of course we don't know who will benefit and I bet it's not the workers. I wouldn't buy from the Developing World unless I knew the goods were fairly traded and that's unlikely if a large company such as Enesco has moved its production solely to save on labour costs. The hand-made ceramic industry would be perfect for certain countries, being labour-intensive and without the need for large capital infrastructure. Based on human skill, it could provide excellent safe employment for women.
Sorry for a posting not directly related to Hazle Ceramics but you have touched on the whole subject of Fair Trade. The globalisation of industry which means that certain of our industries disappear and turn up in a developing county benefits neither us or them, but usually shareholders in a multinational. That's why I can support a small family-based company, still in touch with its customers, making products people actually want and like, providing local employment and not creating appalling pollution.
The Oxfam ceramic, version 2 has the words Fair Trade on it - so you're all right! Hazle connections are everywhere. And flooding our market with cheap imports has a huge effect on Hazle Ceramics. As she went on the first London Peace March before the Iraq War, I don't think Hazle is against political statements!
|Oxfam 1 - LM1000||Oxfam 2 - LM1000|
Actually, I think Hazle Ceramics make a political statement full stop. That is political with a small p. Small is beautiful. Traditional versus modern architecture. Small, family run shops (yes including M&S and Sainsbury's) versus large, soulless out of town hypermarkets. Village life versus suburban dormitories.
Two years later, on 13th October 2006 Marilyn added:
I recently read that all major supermarkets have consumer-led, ethical policies such as fair trade, recycling, food miles, sustainable sources, organic and non-GM produce. Many customers know the cheapest food comes "at a price". It is laden with chemicals and intensively farmed with poor animal welfare - which apart from the cruelty also affects quality. And food miles contribute to global warming - with its devastating effects on climate change - and insurance premiums! The dumping of cheap washing machines, often only a few years old, also has a big environmental impact.
Let's hope that one day wanting the cheapest item, without caring about the consequences, is a thing of the past. This could also help Hazle Ceramics!
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18 January, 2022
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