Long-time Liberty favourite and leading pottery-maker Emma Bridgewater has been flying the flag for English-made earthenware since her brand’s inception in 1985. Still produced in Stoke-On-Trent, Emma Bridgewater pottery continues to inspire the colourful, mismatched kitchens we’ve come to know and love.
Talk us through the moment you decided to design pottery.
I was looking for a birthday present for my mum, and knew that a cup and saucer for her dresser felt right but couldn’t find what I wanted on the market; always quite a good recipe for a new business.
What would you say is your design ethos?
I think this is quite easy, I only design things I would like to have myself. I think this is really the only way to design, I try to be unfussy and engaging in my designs.
Which has been your favourite Liberty collaboration/exclusive?
Oh definitely the Wallflowers that we developed with the store in 2013, I have always adored [those blooms] with their delicious smell mid-spring. Fig is an Emma Bridgewater classic and one of my favourites, I feel very pleased with the work we have done on this pattern for Liberty in these new, rich colours.
What do you think Liberty means for British design?
I think it means a lot of the best creativity under one roof in the middle of Europe’s cultural capital. Over a century of British buying means customers can be sure of finding something exciting and new on every visit.
What does Liberty mean to you and your business?
Liberty has been an important part of Emma Bridgewater since the very early years, this has become more relevant as English manufacturing has become more identified with the store.
How do your surroundings at home or in your workshop help inspire your collections?
Emma Bridgewater is so much about home. Many of our designs are directly inspired by our garden, my husband Matthew is a fanatical vegetable grower whose giant marrows need to be seen to be believed, they were genuinely shocking.
What has kept you producing in Stoke-on-Trent, and do you think you always will?
I think Stoke is definitely the place, it is a city with a resourceful population and an amazing established expertise. So yes, Stoke on Trent forever!
What’s been the highlight of the last year?
A visit from the Duchess of Cambridge to our factory in Stoke this spring, it sprinkled fairy dust all over everything. Do you have any special projects coming up you can let us in on? Every season brings a lot of exciting designs, we try to work a year ahead (jolly difficult) and miraculously we keep on designing things that we and our customers like. We’ve got a really good salmon plate coming out this spring…
How do you see the future of British pottery?
Britain’s expertise in making pottery is unbeatable and despite news to the contrary we all eat off plates, drink tea out of mugs and eat cereal out of bowls, so I feel confident that British pottery is set to thrive.