Burleigh Receives Rapturous Welcome in Japan’s Oldest Department Store

Burleigh’s unique British Craft Skill received a rapturous welcome in Japan’s oldest department store, where crowds of excited shoppers gathered around a display of Burleigh and a demonstration of its tissue transfer decoration. Bringing a British icon to life was Lucy Leigh…

Lucy is now 23 and originally from the Potteries, she left school with an interest in Art & Design and she began a qualification at a local college, before stumbling across the vacancy for a Transferring apprenticeship at Burleigh. Not knowing entirely what it would involve but interested in getting another qualification under her belt, Lucy went for it. And she’s not looked back.

Beginning her journey with Burleigh back in 2019, Lucy is proud to play such a large part in the process of handcrafting Burleigh’s Pottery that continues to be All Made Here’.

Back in July, Lucy was surprised to be asked to go to Japan and represent Burleigh at the Mitsukoshi fair. Having not travelled to Japan before, Lucy was excited at this opportunity being offered to her not only to travel to Japan, but to show her unique skills to visitors of the fair in Japan with a keen interest in British made products, and specifically Burleigh.  

Lucy is a qualified Transferer and was chosen to represent the company as means of reward for her dedication to completing her apprenticeship – something so rare, it deserves to be celebrated! She also represented the company when we presented Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, HM Kings Representative, with a gift to celebrate the Kings Coronation earlier this year.

Putting a spotlight Burleigh’s tissue transfer decoration and the unique skill set involved in producing our wares, and celebrating the Royal Families long held association and admiration for the brand.

Having agreed to travel to Japan, Lucy embarked on a journey with her fellow colleagues to spend 6 days away from home, demonstrating our craft skills. After a long journey, she arrived in Tokyo, and so it began. Planning and preparation began 12 months ago following the visit of Burleigh's long time distributor in Japan,Tasman. Tasman secured the largest space at Mitsukoshi's British Fair to celebrate the 350th Anniversary - one of the most prestigious department stores in Japan. In recognition of their special anniversary Burleigh commissioned a unique backstamp for a Blue Regal Peacock teapot to congratulate Mitsukoshi and this was presented to the buyer at the opening of the event.

On her return to the Potteries, Luxy shared her highlights from the trip. ‘The flight was long, but the plane was surprisingly quiet. We arrived in Tokyo and it was so hot, which took me by a surprise, but we headed straight to our hotel to rest up before heading to the fair. When we arrived at Mitsukoshi, it was interesting to see the fair being built and see it all come together, it's not something I have experienced before so wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was really cool!’

Lucy also talked about the Burleigh tearoom hosted at the fair; operated by ‘Three Tiers’ where the Head Chef trained in the UK, including some time in Clarridges. He even visited Middleport Pottery earlier this year to discuss and plan his menu, ensuring he was immersed in British tearoom practice. The tearoom was fully booked for 6 days and served over 7000 scones, each upon a piece of our famous Burleigh ware.

The following day, the show began. Lucy told of how she spoke to lots of visitors throughout her demonstration and people were intrigued and in awe of what she was doing, asking questions about the tissue transfer process, and sharing with her pictures of their homes where Burleigh Pottery pieces featured. Lucy’s evenings were spent touring the space around the fair, including trips to Electric Avenue and the Pokemon shop to buy gifts for family, and she hopes that one day shell have the opportunity to travel to Japan again.

Jim Norman, Managing Director of Burleigh comments ‘the enthusiastic welcome that Lucy received is testament to the great appeal that Burleigh has in Japan. I couldn’t be prouder of how well Lucy has represented her colleagues at Middleport Pottery, it was a big ask and she was brilliant. Burleigh bears a binding commitment to tradition and craftsmanship, and with that comes our commitment to our apprenticeship programmes that we are heavily invested in to ensure that our craft lives on for decades to come’.

For all enquiries related to Burleigh's apprenticeship programme, please contact us here. 

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