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Renowned pottery firm reverses trend for artisans

Tichelaar rejuvenates in its 5th century

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

MAKKUM - Where other old artisans or artisan companies revert to museum-like operations or premises in heritage villages or fairs, Tichelaar Pottery - one of the oldest Dutch firms - is breaking that traditional mold. No longer just catering to tourists coming to see part of its process-by-hand, Tichelaar in the last two years has become a modern factory with a large part of its sales being derived from industrial applications.

Formed in 1594, Tichelaar's mainstay business always has been hand-decorated ceramics and pottery, either for household use or - later - as decoration. ‘Makkumer aardewerk’ is known for its distinctive polychrome, decorations which sets it apart from more traditional, Delft Blue pottery.

Two years ago, the company embarked on an extensive rejuvenation. Its heritage premises were renovated, a modern production facility added and more emphasis was given to the production of other types of ceramics. Thirty-five percent of its yearly sales now come from specialized (roof) tiles used in the homebuilding industry. By replacing its three large ovens with six smaller ones, Tichelaar also has enabled itself to make limited editions and specialty products. Among its most recent orders were limited editions vases for New York fashion designer Donna Karen (DKNY) and for Philips with a design by Clemens Briels.