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Did you ever find out about the price of an object why you are so expensive?
It’s a question you might ask about this vase.
It is called the Pantera vase and was one of the creations of Josiah Wedgwood, the founder of the firm that bears his surname and whose name is recognized throughout the world since the time when the United Kingdom became an industrial empire.
Wedgwood was born in an era of exquisite dinners and , to serve them, what made this brand was the most exquisite that money could buy .
Not for nothing has he held the Seal of Royal Approval since the 1760s and was the company that made the dishes for the coronation banquet of Queen Elizabeth II.
And although tastes have changed and, under a new administration, Wedgwood is looking to the future, the iconic Pantera vase is still being made.
It is one of the most exclusive pieces of the company and is based on an original design of the eighteenth century .
It is also the culmination of more than two centuries of tailored craftsmanship, of skills perfected over generations, transmitted from potter to potter, from turner to turner.
It all starts with a piece of raw clay.
Making a Pantera vase is a very intense and laborious task. There are many things that can go wrong. The smallest mistake can cause everything to be lost .
Mastering the process requires years of training and experience.
And those skills are increasingly scarce in an industry that changes rapidly.
It is a specialized job that the craftsmen in the factory fear will disappear.
They point out that young people today do not seem to want to work with their hands; they like working with computers more.
They say they have asked for apprentices, but that those who come do not last more than a couple of weeks .
And for Wedgwood to maintain its tradition, it needs a new generation of artisan potters or else the skills and knowledge needed to make pieces like this vase could be lost forever .
The glory days
In the glory days, everyone wanted a piece of Wedgwood and some were willing to pay for it.
And in the factory there were many more people.
“I think there were about 5,000 people in total when I started,” says Kevin Dodd, an ornamentation specialist.
” H abía 77 people doing this work I’m doing . Now we do s “.
For decades, this factory provided employment for thousands of people.
“It’s something that you have to focus on a lot, because each piece is slightly different.”
“If the ornaments are a bit drier than the ceramic piece or vice versa, when it dries completely, it will crack n and fall off .”
When you put the last leaf, the vase is almost finished.
The fall of glory
A few years ago, Wedgwood was on the edge of the precipice .
The 250-year-old firm collapsed after the banks withdrew from a financing agreement, and more than 2,500 jobs were hanging by a thread.
It was saved in 2015 by the Finnish luxury giant Fiskars , and, already in foreign hands, this British institution par excellence is becoming a 21st century brand, taking advantage of its past to create a new future.
That future is “the Wedgwood experience”, which goes far beyond traditional tableware, ornaments and other objects. He not only sells cups and teapots for tea, but in some places he serves them in his salons; What’s more, it sells you the tea itself, from your brand.
In addition, although currently most of the firm’s production takes place in the Far East, certain prestigious pieces of porcelain, such as the Pantera vase, and those who make them are part of that “Wedgwood experience”.
So, although much has changed, the work of artisans remains the same.
This is the way it has always been done, the only way it can be done .
For Josiah Wedgwood, the Pantera vase was a neoclassical design that became his hallmark: a touch of antiquity for those who could not afford real luxury.
Then, as now, the final stage of the process was the riskiest: the burned one.
Spend 18 hours at 1180 º C in the oven and change color as it burns. Then it is left to cool for approximately 12-14 hours.
You never know , until it was the oven door open, if out well or not.
Forward with something from behind
The new chapter in the history of Wedgwood seeks to sell the experience and tradition of the brand to a younger client.
“What we need now is take him a little dust from the image of Wedgwood . Making sure the younger audience also understands the craft we do , ” says Ulrik new president Garde Due, who revitalized Burberry and Louis Vitton.
Josiah Wedgwood probably would not recognize the company he founded more than 250 years ago.
And at some point in the reinvention of this British institution, it is likely that the Pantera vase will start to look a little old fashioned.
However, the tradition it represents is part of Wedgwood’s DNA.
It is a physical link between the past and the present .
For potters, continuing a tradition that goes back centuries represents something more: the simple satisfaction of a job well done.
“There’s no room for error, everything has to be perfect, it’s an achievement when you see them on the shelf, you think, ‘I did that,’ and you know they will be sold anywhere in the world.”
So, why does the Pantera vase cost US $ 6,000?
Partly because of how difficult it is to do it and because there are only a few who know how; in part, for its pedigree, quality and for being the product of a tradition that has been kept alive for centuries.
And as always is the case, partly because there are still people willing to pay that price.