From The West Briton 10 March 2005
Daughter on trail of her father's pottery
Chance find on internet sparks book and quest for collection.
Susie Carter reports
HOLDING a china figurine reduced a Porthtowan woman to tears and sparked a quest to find out more about its origin.
For Chrissie Loveday had picked up an ornament crafted by her late father - pottery which had escaped her grasp for decades that had been re-homed on the other side of the world.
Chrissie, aged 65, is now determined to collect one example of each of the 100 items made by her father, potter Arthur Bowker. And she has written a book, called Rough Clay, to pay tribute to his work in the heart of the Staffordshire potteries.
The book, the hunt for missing china pieces and the quest to discover her family history stemmed from a lucky find by Chrissie's husband John.
He spotted a beautiful figurine wearing an old fashioned bonnet, called Simone, on the internet site E-Bay for $50.
The ornament sparked an instant reaction in Chrissie - because it was the first example of her father's work she had seen for years. Now Chrissie regularly trawls the web site in search of more of her father's work; most of which ended up in Bermuda. [some was in Bermuda, but most was in Commonwealth countries and USA -- webmaster]
Her book is based on the life of her father Arthur, who chose a career in the heart of the turbulent Staffordshire potteries, over a stable career in mining.
Using clay from the St Austell pits, he produced jugs, kettles, brooches, figurines, coronation memorabilia, character figures and animals, under the name "Arthur Bowker Staffordshire Fine Bone China". One of his earliest models was a small crinoline lady named Christine after his only daughter, who says his china is of a similar quality to Royal Doulton.
"I sat and cried when I held the lovely lady Simone again. It led to a whole string of reminiscences," she said.
"My husband and sons began asking about my father, whom they had never known, so they asked me to write some of it down.
"This also gave me an excuse to revisit my old home town and meet up with some of the people who had known and worked with my father.
"They reminded me of the warmth, generosity and humour of the folks from that part of the world.
"The big problem was my dad had a huge imagination," said Chrissie. "Once the ornaments were made he tended to get bored with them-that was possibly part of his downfall in the end."
Chrissie has been an author for 10 years and has published a variety of books from children's books to erotic novels.
She has three grown up sons.
"Starting a new book is such a joy and I feel a sense of loss when it is finished and my characters are left to go and live their own lives," she said.
Rough Clay is priced £8.50 and is published by iUniverse, ISBN 0-59534062-8. To obtain a copy signed by the author visit www.rough-clay.com
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