Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research

Lisa Sheppy

PhD Student

Commenced: PhD October 2017

Research Topic: Revitalising a Victorian underglaze print archive: investigating materials for roller composition married to new, safer lead-less inks

Supervisory Team: Director of studies Professor Stephen Hoskins, David Huson, Tavs Jorgensen

Lisa is a PhD candidate within the 3D3 programme funded by the National Productivity Investment Fund. This project aims to revitalise an extensive archive of historic patterns once used to produce under glaze tissue print production for transfers at Burleigh Pottery. These patterns have been not been in the public domain for 100 years and, even though the tissue print process is still in use, Burleigh is the last pottery in the UK to use this traditional handmade process. This collaborative project between the Centre for Fine Print Research, UWE Bristol and Burleigh Pottery will potentially aim to protect this 'artisan process' and result in the acquisition of new knowledge and technological improvements in the production of its patterns combined with new improved printing processes.

Initial research will focus on the background historical influences of the original patterns leading back to the influence of the Chinese ceramics and the 'national obsession' with blue and white porcelain. Historical references to the patterns are also important within the context of other ceramic producers such as Spode and Wedgwood with an appraisal of the main consumers and the popularity of the pottery at that specific period in its production. The tissue print process is still pivotal to the production methods at Burleigh and how this evolved into an extensive portfolio of designs at Burleigh will be discussed. Current interests nationally in ceramics within the context of the industry will involve a current critical discourse focusing on the importance of the ceramic industry with a discussion of exponents of printmaking and ceramics such as Paul Scott, Charlotte Hodes and Grayson Perry. Research Methods will include access to primary sources with the re-discovered designs displayed in the archive of the engravings on rollers/plates and pattern books.

The methodology of using oral histories with current tissue printers who are able to contribute with real lived experiences of the process and working at Burleigh. Visual research will provide a comprehensive understanding of significant collections of this field of ceramics at the current British Ceramics Biennial, Stoke-on-Trent, the Victoria and Albert Museum and The Ashmolean in Oxford for example. Critical making may also be useful as a technique to research the tissue printing transfer method to engage fully with the process as a designer-maker.