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Helen Martin reports on the 2008
AGM & Get-together.

Article from The Sentinel
The Carlton Ware World weekend at Etruria Hall, now part of The Moat House Hotel, was a resounding success, as you can see from the pictures shown on the gallery page. What a great time we all had.

Entering Josiah Wedgwood's former home added to our expectations of an enjoyable weekend. Although the Hall is now part of a hotel, with a little imagination it gave us an idea of what it must have been like in the 18th Century. We were lucky to have exclusive use of the Wells Room, Josiah’s elegant sitting room.

On Saturday, after registration and lunch, Harvey Pettit, our chairman, welcomed us all to the weekend, and in particular, to Paul Waylen and Vanessa Barnish, who were Cuthbert Wiltshaw’s grandchildren and great grandchildren of Frederick Wiltshaw, who founded the pottery in 1890.

Helen Martin then introduced Eric Knowles, who informed and entertained us with a talk titled Art Deco - The British Perspective. Eric spoke about the influences on the Art Deco period and how these applied to British ceramics and other aspects of the decorative arts. He certainly got all of us thinking. Afterwards, Eric took questions and then joined us in the bar before dinner. What a great guest speaker he proved to be, enlightening us all about the many aspects of the inter war years, which continue to influence many designers today.

The break before dinner gave some of us the opportunity to use the hotel facilities to the full, both pool and bar, though not necessarily in that order! In a private section of the restaurant, we were able to chat away over dinner and catch up with old friendships, make new ones and put the world to right!

Sunday morning began with the Annual General Meeting. Much was discussed and decisions made will be published in the minutes of the meeting, which will be available shortly.

At 12 noon, Sara and Carole welcomed former Carlton Ware employees at reception and Mike guided them to the restaurant, where we all enjoyed a splendid carvery lunch. This gave us the opportunity to chat at leisure with the people that made our pots so that we could glean important first hand information about how they were made, as well as hear anecdotes about life at Copeland Street.

After lunch, we returned to the Wells Room to listen to an engaging talk on parian ware and how it related to Carlton Ware. This was presented by Helen Martin, who showed us examples of this fine bodied ware. A DVD of a film, made at the Belleek pottery in the 1970s accompanied Helen’s talk. This gave us a fantastic overview of how parian bodied Belleek was made. Afterwards, Helen told us how Carlton Ware was linked to parian, and with Harvey, she opened a discussion about these previously unrevealed connections.

The talks and entertainments were enhanced with lots of pots. Mike Kiernan brought a lovely display of REVO dishes, which showed the true versatility of this shape and how it adapted so well to a multitude of patterns. A good selection of unusual items, including tiles and examples of monogrammed ware, added even more interest.

The members 'For Sale' table, managed by Pat and Ian Clargo, tempted us to buy more Carlton Ware and created more smiling faces! The club merchandise table, presented by Heather and Ray Goddard, also proved popular.

The Carlton Ware World fakes table manned by Derek & Jane Towns had grown ever bigger since it was last shown. Seeing and handling these deceitful items is the best way to avoid being caught out by their unscrupulous makers. No other club offers this facility and it is much appreciated by members.

The raffle table was literally overflowing with tempting prizes, so nearly everyone was bound to be a winner.

The afternoon's events concluded the weekend with an auction, raffle and more refreshments so we could leave nourished ready for the journey home.

It was all over before any of us had time to draw breath. What a great week-end for all. We look forward to our next Annual General Meeting in October 2009.

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