A Moor steady hand
Joanne Ratcliffe was working in English department store Marks and Spencer when her dad spotted an advertisement in the paper calling for new artists at Moorcroft.
In these days of outsourcing, the famous Staffordshire pottery, Moorcroft, prides itself on still producing handcrafted pottery created by local artists.
“My family are all connected to the pottery industry,” Joanne said. “I take after my dad in my painting and drawing skills and I studied art at school, but somehow I didn’t think I’d follow in the family footsteps.”
That was until she got the job at Moorcroft, which trained her in both its signature tubelining and hand-painting of art pottery.
“I was trained by one of Moorcroft’s leading artists, Hayley Moore,” said Joanne, who spent 18 months learning the 200-year-old tubelining techniques and a further year honing her painting skills.
She will demonstrate these skills on her first trip to Australia this month when Moorcroft makes its annual pilgrimage to Perth to promote its highly collectible new range, Spirit of Australia.
Tubelining, an identifiable feature of Moorcroft designs, involves squeezing a thin line of liquid clay through a nozzle on to the piece of pottery to outline the design.
“It’s a heritage skill and I knew it would take a long time to learn,” Joanne said. “But I loved it.
“Some people think it’s the harder of the two skills. You have to feel as one with your hands and have exactly the right amount of pressure to get the exact thickness all the
A pink revolution way around.
“It requires a really steady hand.”
Joanne is now Moorcroft’s leading demonstration artist and conducts the Stoke-onTrent factory tours. She shows keen collectors the techniques and processes that were set in 1913 by artist and potter William Moorcroft, who quickly established a reputation for intricate, innovative, brilliantly coloured and highly glazed pottery.
Joanne and art director and managing director Elise Adams are coming to Claremont on November 24 so Joanne can demonstrate tubelining and hand-painting techniques.
She said this in itself was a risky process because she would demonstrate on unfired, dried-out clay, which could easily break in transit.
Moorcroft demonstrations and the new Spirit of Australia designs will be at Claremont Tableware on Saturday, November 24, from 11am to 4pm, and Drakesbrook Antiques in Waroona on Sunday.
To book for Claremont, call Mike on 9384 9371 before November 19.
The 200-year-old skill of tubelining requires a steady hand.