The Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society has been recruiting local people from Stoke-on-Trent for a unique ‘community research team’. Those taking part will visit key collections, access unusual archive material and visit recognised (as well as forgotten architectural ceramic gems) ‘in situ’ across Stoke-on-Trent.
The first ‘study visit’ day took place last Wednesday and was very successful. Sixteen people met each other at Gladstone Pottery Museum. It began with everyone introducing themselves to each other. There are people from many different backgrounds and motivations. For example – Bryan Sage has 50 years of very high-level experience in tile manufacture. He trained and worked with H&R Johnsons for many years and has worked for companies in America, Italy and Spain. Bret Shah is an educator who moved into a house with a beautiful Minton tile hallway. He took photographs and was also inspired to make ‘geometric illustrations’ of the patterns using computer-aided design. He shared his photographs and artwork with neighbours and has since taken photographs and made illustrations that document the tiles of many houses in his street!
Gladstone Director Angela Lee then led a wonderful introductory tour of the Tile Gallery that promoted lively conversations and further exploration. After lunch the team were treated to a true Potteries’ architectural gem and tile masterpiece – Herbert Minton and Charles Lynam’s stunning Holy Trinity Church at Hartshill.
The team will be meeting up in Stoke-on-Trent again in two weeks time for a second day exploring the City’s somewhat forgotten tiles and architectural ceramics ‘collection’. They will discover fine examples on and in buildings and in public spaces including homes, schools, pubs, churches, factories, town halls and parks. Participants will also get the chance to see present day tile production in the City. Two remaining more study visit will explore key collections and locations in Ironbridge and London.
Two connected project website resources have been launched. Information about the community research team and the tiles and architectural ceramics they find will be promoted and shared using these resources. There are opportunities for anyone to comment, add to the stories or information presented and contribute their own examples of tiles and architectural ceramics to share.
We would particularly welcome contributions from TACS members! Here are the two resources for you to explore:
On the website you will also find a link to ‘The Potteries Tile Trail | HistoryPin Channel’. The project ‘channel’ is a dedicated space where you can find more project resources and add your own contributions if you sign up to Google+. Please do – its easy, free and harmless!