Title ID 5970Collection ID844
TitleUseful and Beautiful
Collection[Ledermann] Lederman / Tutt
Genre/TypeAmateurIndependent AmateurNon-fictionActuality/Factual
ThemeRural Life Working Life
KeywordsFood Labour Workers Rural Areas Trades Visual Arts Handicrafts
LocalStone Cross Pevensey
RegionalEast Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionHarry Lederman and Alan Tutt
DirectorHarry Lederman and Alan Tutt
NarratorJonathan Chiswell Jones
ParticipantsKerry Bosworth
FormatColour Sound
Duration26 min. 50 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


Kerry Bosworth demonstrates the processes used at JCJ Potters in Stone Cross, East Sussex. The film, produced by amateur film-makers Harry Lederman and Alan Tutt in 2005, is narrated by the owner, Jonathan Chiswell Jones.


A view of Peelings Manor Barns in Stone Cross, East Sussex opens the film. Kerry Bosworth is throwing a butter dish at a wheel inside at JCJ Pottery. Music plays and narration by Jonathan Chiswell Jones begins; 'We make a large range of porcelain using hand methods as much as possible.' The butter dish is made in two halves. Kerry's hands, covered in slip, push out the clay, forming the dish with confident hands. The clay is drawn up, forming the sides of the lid, which is made upside down. The height and width are measured with calipers and the surface is smoothed of throwing rings, to provide a good surface for decoration. The slip is taken off the surface of the pot, to aid drying. Kerry uses a sponge to wipe the slip from the wheel. She throws the base upside down, using her hands to push the clay out to form a flat piece with rings in the middle; 'without that little ring, the clay would bend in the firing and the base wouldn't have a flat top.' She measures the dish with calipers once more, and checks the level of the outside and inside base, smoothing the rings with her hands and tools.

Kerry makes a pint jug. While forming the jug, she pushes the clay down; 'when working in porcelain it's important to compress the base of the pot inside.' This prevents splitting. She pulls the clay up into a cylindrical form, drawing it up from the base with her hands inside and outside of the pot. She checks the height of the pot before using a rib to rid the vessel of throwing rings, and give it it final shape and profile. Kerry removes the water inside the pot with a sponge on the end of a stick. She makes the lip by pulling the clay upwards and pushing the sides together. Jonathan Chiswell Jones, the narrator, speaks of the need to consider two kinds of practicality; if the lip is too thin it is liable to break, but is it is not thin enough the jug won't pour well; 'we always have some kind of balance to strike.'

Handles are formed by pushing clay through a precut die plate. Pieces of the strip produced are attached to the jug and dish. They must be large enough for the hand to fit through but not bulky. Kerry attaches the handle to the dish with the pottery's signature style. She marks where the lid sits on the base and cuts a ridge out for the lid to rest in. She twists two pieces together to make the handle for the jug. This form of double handle was used in the making of Leeds Creamware and dates back two hundred years.

The bottom of the pots are waxed before they are passed through the glaze. The wax repels the glaze so the melted glass does fuse the pot to the kiln shelf. Kerry begins to decorate the pot with an underglaze, starting with banding around the top and bottom of the jug. The vessel is decorated with 'the brushstroke bird' with a cobalt mix that will become royal blue when fired. Because the decoration is worked straight onto the raw pot, Kerry can scratch lines in the colour using a method called scrafito. Kerry uses a nail and engraving tools to add detail to the birds. She decorates the butter dish with dragonflies, using thin and thick colour to contrast its body and wings. Practice is needed to develop this skill, says the narrator.

The pots are ready for glazing. Glaze is a thin layer of glass that melts during firing. The pot is transformed into a water proof and easily cleanable surface. Glazing before firing is an ancient way of working, says Chiswell Jones, but it is not practiced in industry or by most individual potters. JCJ Potters find the method to be efficient and effective. Kerry blows the dust from the pots before dipping them into the white glaze. The decoration will appear after the firing and the white glaze will turn into transparent glass. The glaze is wiped from the bottom of the pots and flint is used to keep the lid and base separate from one another in the kiln.

The kiln is packed with as many pots as possible without each object touching another. The kiln shelves are seen before the door is closed. The kiln as described as the most important piece of equipment, that can spoil six weeks of work. A lit flame is passed through to light the kiln. Using a flame gets certain results. Inside the kiln, the glaze melts and the pots become impervious to water. They are vitrified by the flame. When the kiln is opened, the once white pots are now coloured with pattern and animals in blue and green. The butter dish is knocked to release base from lid.

Because they are beautiful objects, some owners do not use the pots they buy, but according to Chiswell Jones, 'we like out pots to be used (so they) become part of people's daily lives'. Displays of porcelain made by JCJ Potters is seen on sale. The film closes with a quote by William Morris; 'Have nothing in your house which you do not deem to be useful or believe to be beautiful.'