O'Donoghue Greencrocer's Shop

O'Donoghue Greencrocer's Shop

O'Donoghue Greencrocer's Shop - 5½" (139 mm) high. 1980.

O'Donoghue, Chris

Chris O'Donoghue is a mould-maker of some repute. He is a native of Dorset and joined the Poole Pottery there where he learned to make moulds under the instruction of Bert Baggaley and Guy Sydenham.

His brother had a pottery in Cranbrook, Kent, making stonewares and Chris joined him in 1974. He met Dennis Townsend, the owner of Iden Pottery, and before long moved to Rye to make moulds for him. He was set up in a workshop at Iden, but before long the other potters of the town heard about him and soon he was being asked to make moulds for Rye Pottery, David Sharp, Leo Bonassera, Cinque Ports, et al. He didn't think it fair on Dennis to carry out work for other people from his workshop so he sought premises of his own.

Winter's Dairy of Rye had a large building (now the Rope Walk Arcade) near the railway station. They had spare capacity and rented him 2,000 square feet of workshop space. His client base increased to include companies like Fulham Pottery and Broadstairs Pottery. Dairies don't go in for heating in a big way, so Chris and his staff with only a couple of paraffin heaters to keep them warm spent the first half-hour of each day jogging round the benches to warm themselves up for the day's work.

In 1978 Chris started making cottages. He had an eye for detail and enjoyed making models with the precision that was needed for cottages and houses. He took them to various trade fairs around the country, and they proved very popular with retailers from small one-off stores to Harrod's (a large one-off store).

The cottages died out in the late 1980s and Chris handed over the company to his number one man and worked on his own as a freelance. He left Winter's Dairy just before the roof was blown off in a gale and missed the delights of trying to make moulds in a caravan.

He is still busy making moulds for projects that interest him; for example, a ceramic jam-pot holder for Fortnum and Mason, and various projects for Rye Pottery. He also makes resin moulds and likes the greater precision that can be obtained with the flexible material. If you can afford it, he will even make you a model of your house.

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