Q&A With Poole Paintress Jane

If you've visited Middleport Pottery for a Burleigh Factory Tour, you will most likely have walked through the part of the factory where we produce Poole and seen Jane hard at work.

With us adding some rare and collectable Poole trials to the website, we spoke to Jane about her 12 year career as a Poole Paintress, where she finds inspiration and her favourite Poole collection.

Q: How did you get in to painting?

“As a little girl, I would sit with my Dad, watching him paint water colour paintings. I was intrigued by how he would bring a blank piece of paper to life. The seed was set for my love of painting.”

Jane’s first painting job was working for Border Fine Arts, who set their studio up in Stoke-on-Trent in 1989. Working on a 'piece work' basis alongside 30-40 other decorators, Jane used oil paints to decorate a range of animal figures.

After the studio closed, Jane moved on to Sherratt & Simpson, who were producing similar pottery ware locally, so she, along with many ex-colleagues, moved to employment there.

During this period, a lot of pot banks in the area were closing down and the production of pottery was being made abroad, so Jane chose to change direction in her career; working at a well-known Travel company for 10 years.

It was one fateful day in 2012, when Jane caught up with an ex-colleague and friend from her days in the travel industry, who happened to work at the Burleigh Factory Shop, where she still works to this day. Soon after, Jane had an interview and trade test and got offered a job as a Poole Pottery Paintress. The rest is history, as they say.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?

“I enjoy lots of things about my work in Poole; my days are never the same. Some of the patterns are more intricate than others, taking longer to decorate but I never tire or get bored of painting any. I enjoy the challenge of new patterns, getting each piece to a high standard for our customers and collectors. The people in the departments around me are a great bunch and are always willing to help.”

“It’s no secret I like to talk and anyone in the factory will confirm this! So, it’s an added bonus when visitors come through the Poole department; it gives me a chance to chat with them about Poole pottery.”

Q: What inspires the trial pieces you create?

Working closely with the Design Team at Denby on ideas and trial pieces, Jane gets inspiration from flora and fauna. "Sometimes I have to put my thoughts to more abstract ideas, giving the customers a varied range of collections.”

Q: Which is your favourite Poole collection and why?

“I get asked this a lot. I can honestly say I don’t have a favourite pattern or collection; I like parts of them all. One pattern I do miss decorating was called ‘Fantasy’, which had a vibrant red base glaze and was decorated with black and copper green grasses. Above long black stemmed buds and flowers was a butterfly.”

Q: Future plans for Poole Pottery?

"I really hope Poole pottery continues to produce for many years to come. I see how much visitors on the tours love Poole pottery and are amazed by how many skilled people it takes to produce the ware. It’s our responsibility make sure Poole continues in to the future."

Read about how Poole pottery is made, learn how our Living Glaze technique is produced and find your favourite Poole Pottery collection.

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