Gifts Today magazine

Shelley Collectors Society helps fund ceramics student

The Potteries-based society makes a charitable award to 22-year-old ceramic tableware student

Formed in 1986 as a collectors’ society, The Shelley Group was later registered as a charity with the object of “the public education and promotion of the production of Wileman and Shelley potteries.”

The society recently presented an award – a £500 bursary towards the cost of the MA Ceramic Design course at the Faculty of Arts and Creative Design in Stoke on Trent – to ceramics student Alex Allday at Staffordshire University.

With a BA in Ceramics from Loughborough University, 22-year-old Alex started the MA course, which is led by creative director Professor David Sanderson, in October 2013, and is studying 3D ceramic design, primarily for tableware.

Gerry Pearce, chairman of the Shelley Group said: “The Group’s founder, Paddy Owens, had proposed the idea of helping to fund a student within the ceramics field and the committee has found the ideal vehicle for this charitable aim.

“Shelley Potteries aided the training of its designers and artists/decorators by sending selected apprentices to the local Burslem College of Art in pre- and post-WW2 years,” explains Gerry. “The present Faculty has its roots in the Burslem College’s long tradition and we would like to believe that the student we assist, now many years later, will take her creative design skills and ideas to work in the ceramics industry.

“Based in the heart of the Potteries, home of UK ceramics for over two centuries, this MA Ceramics award is recognised worldwide as one of the leading postgraduate programmes in ceramic design for manufacture. The students study through a series of modules including tools and techniques, design studies, placements in local ceramics industry and business practices. We hope that this will become an annual award and a worthy cause for our charity.”

In 2010 Staffordshire University established Flux, a range of china tableware designed by the director and students of its Faculty of Arts and Creative Design. This was commercially launched two years later and has now been exhibited internationally at design and trade shows and sold in 22 countries.

Professor David Sanderson is the brainchild behind the Flux project and in 2012 he was awarded the prestigious Homes and Gardens Designer of the Year award. Students on the MA course develop their own shapes and decorative designs, some of which are used in the expanding Flux range, giving them insight and experience into the commercial ceramics world.

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