The Labour weekend sale has been a feature of the Morris & James calendar almost since the business began. In the early days it provided an essential ‘top up’ to the company coffers after the lean winter period. But apart from this the sale has become an occasion in itself, a celebration to mark the passing of another year.
It’s one of those events that the staff look forward to with mixed emotions. On the one hand it signals the change of the seasons, a positive step from the damp, quiet times of winter into the more buoyant part of the year. Summer is just over the hill...but in contrast it is also a massive undertaking, requiring extended hours and lots of hard work. The Pottery closes the day before and the showroom and most of the production areas are reconfigured as display spaces.
As well as production items the sale is an opportunity for collectors to sift through the various samples, trials and development work that has accumulated during the year. Typically, when things are quiet in the middle of the year, time can more easily be devoted to new designs, experimental work with glazes and shapes. Dotted amongst the work on display are some unique pieces, and in all probability, items that will never be repeated. It’s a great opportunity for those looking for something more adventurous or for a very particular spot around the home or garden; this year a good crowd was waiting at the gate clearly with this in mind!
From our point of view the sale is also an opportunity to review what we have achieved during the previous twelve months, and seeing everything out and on display is very gratifying. The evening before we opened, and after everyone had headed out to the garden for a BBQ, I took a walk around and it seems we have turned a corner.
The work is still identifiable Morris & James, but alongside the traditional work are a variety of new designs destined for more contemporary settings. As well as bold colours there are more subtle hues, complimentary textures rather than dramatic patterns. An excellent example of this are the scratched Rhondo’s, which while understated are a very successful use of technique and material. These pots in various sizes have been very well received; the robust, simple forms, restrained but detailed texturing along with a new palette of colours fit equally well in either a sparse contemporary setting or a more traditional home. Of particular interest has been a new glaze called ‘Spartan’ which is reminiscent of cast iron, an industrial finish on something handmade. In contrast ‘Gypsy’ is flamboyant, bright colours, nothing understated about this design!
It’s been a good design year, and if we don’t see you this time, make a note for this time next year!
- Nick C