We have just completed our most complex job yet: a full set of customised crockery for the 3rd Scots Regiment – The Black Watch.
Banks Pottery were approached in April 2014 by the regiment who required a new set of crockery for the regimental mess.
Photographs of the original crockery were supplied as a guide but new designs were needed as the regiment had a new crest. The design required a relatively wide band in red to go around all the pieces in the set. The regimental crest needed to be set within this wide band, as you can see from the pictures to the left.
Here is where the complexity sets in. Bands are easy to do on circular pieces – they are centred on a turntable and a brush applied to a spinning plate, but having such a wide band with a badge set within the band made this option not possible. We worked very closely with George Jackson China in Stoke on Trent to make sure that the transfer designs were going to be able to be put on the ceramics correctly. We decided that the easiest way to do the flatware was that the band and crest had to be made up as one complete ceramic transfer, which would be applied directly to the plate in one go. The hollow ware was to be treated in a similar way: each piece would have a dedicated band and crest transfer made up – as you can see in the picture on the right.
Banks Pottery liaised with the Regiment on the choice of crockery to use – the question being whether to go for the lightness and fine quality of bone china or the durability of porcelain. We eventually came to a compromise of using Porcelite porcelain flatware for the plates and fine bone china pieces for the cups and saucers and tea service items. This idea threw up some further complications: the nature of the two different ceramics (China and Porcelain) affects the ceramic transfer finish once the items are out of the kilns.
We decided that a screenprint ceramic decal would offer the best finish when applied to the two different ceramics (as opposed to a modern digitally printed transfer). The screenprinted transfer would also have the advantage of giving a better, more vibrant red, as red is notoriously difficult to get bright with digital prints.
Banks Pottery chose RC Design Ceramics of Stoke on Trent to produce the screen printed ceramic transfers. We next had to produce the designs for each piece – all the time liaising with the Regiment to make sure that everyone was happy with each piece. Banks Pottery had to work closely with RC design to get the designs up to the best standard that we could and also to get the sizes of each design absolutely spot on so that when they are applied to the ceramic pieces they would look right. Not easy!!
We did some test pieces to make sure that the quality was there and that the regiment was happy with the work. Once we had the green light George Jackson and his skilled team could get to work applying the transfers to each piece individually – no machine work here, it’s all done by hand and eye.
Once each piece was painstakingly decorated it all went in batches into the kilns and heated to about 750 deg C. At this temperature the ceramic transfers fuse with the glaze and become permanent. Once cooled the items are reboxed and despatched.
The end results were stunning. A beautiful set of crockery to grace the Black Watch Regimental mess in Inverness.
If you’re interested in custom-printed crockery for your organisation, get in touch to discuss your requirements and we’ll work hard to deliver unbeatable results.