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The Shorter factory itself, still the most traditional in its output, produced colourfully painted household ware and also became well known for Toby Character Jugs. The two bothers, Colley and Guy Shorter were made directors of Wilkinsons in 1916 During the 1930's, and to reflect changing tastes, the patterns and shapes produced by Wilkinson's were to vary greatly, and in 1935/6 the Bizarre umbrella name was dropped; pieces then being marked Clarice Cliff.Cliff's father Harry Thomas Cliff worked at the local iron foundry in Tunstall, her mother Ann (née Machin) took in washing to supplement the family income, and they had seven children.Cliff was sent to a different school from her siblings, and this perhaps prompted her more independent approach to her career, and her non-standard life style by Stoke-on-Trent standards. In 1927/8 a market testing of 60 dozen pieces of "Bizarre Ware" was organised by Colley Shorter. WIlkinson factory and after showing good drawing ability she attended evening classes at Burslem School of Art from 1924-1925 and studied sculpture at the Royal College of Art in 1927, returning after only a few months to set up a small studio in Wilkinson's Newport Pottery, decorating traditional white-ware.

Here Cliff was allowed to decorate some of the old defective 'glost' (white) ware in her own freehand patterns.

For these she used on-glaze enamel colours, which enabled a brighter palette than underglaze colours.

Allowed to experiment with old Newport Pottery shapes, she produced her new bold geometric designs, so expressive of the Art Deco age.

Colley was a consummate salesman and it was he who conceived the idea of personalising her designs with her signature, thus launching one of the 20th century's design legends.

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