World Penguin Day

by Louise Irvine World Penguin Day is April 25, which coincides with the annual northern migration of Adelie penguins. The cute, flightless birds have been in the news recently making people smile as they waddle through empty zoos. Like many, I have a soft spot for penguins. My interest started

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Lalique: Flights of Fancy

The Hot Glass gallery at WMODA features the Flights of Fancy exhibit where we explore René Lalique’s passion for nature through his stunning designs of flora and fauna. Nature’s Miracles As urban migration increased in the late 19th century, designers turned to nature as their main source of inspiration. Stylized

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On the Knees of the Gods

One of the most iconic figures made for Royal Doulton’s rouge flambé glazes is the Smiling Buddha. Art Director, Charles J. Noke, modeled the Buddha during the First World War when he was experimenting with Chinese transmutation glazes. An advertisement for the figure from the December 1918 issue of Colour

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You Dirty Boy

We are being advised to use copious amounts of soap during the current crisis, so we thought it was a good time to highlight one of the most amusing statues in the WMODA collection. You Dirty Boy by Giovanni Focardi was purchased by Pears’ soap manufacturers and used extensively to

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Majolica Mania

Majolica Mania is due to open at the Bard Graduate Center in New York on September 25 and travels to the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore in 2021. This magnificent exhibition and publication will create a new awareness and appreciation for 19th century majolica, which was wildly popular with the

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Rabbiting On

Since we can’t hop along to WMODA right now, we thought you might enjoy discovering how rabbits came to be associated with Easter time. It all stems from the confusion between rabbits and hares, which were sacred to Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of Spring. Ritual hare hunts were held to

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Alyssa’s Shells

Tide pools at the Florida seashore inspire ceramic artist Alyssa Ligmont to make functional stoneware embellished with shells and starfish. As part of our program on April 4, Alyssa will demonstrate her pottery processes combining wheel-throwing and slab building. She carves, stamps and models her stoneware forms before applying multiple

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Guinness: An Irish Icon

As St. Patrick’s Day’s Day approaches, we are wondering why a bird which lives in the treetops of South American rainforests was used to promote an iconic Irish beer. Carlton ware began making Guinness advertising ceramics in the 1950s and Royal Doulton was commissioned to make Guinness toucans by Millennium

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Classic Black

“Black is sterling and will last forever” said Josiah Wedgwood of his new black basalt body. The first major exhibition devoted to the subject has opened recently at the Mint Museum in Charlotte and has inspired us to look more closely at the black basalt collection at WMODA. Josiah Wedgwood

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Flappers, Vamps & Divas

During Women’s History Month, Louise Irvine is celebrating the Centennial of women’s right to vote and highlighting their achievements as designers and muses in the fired arts during the roaring twenties. Votes for Women The women’s rights movement began nearly a century before the vote was finally granted. There were

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