Liberty Flowers ceramics are made in a two-part workshop in the heart of the Cotswolds. In a set-up akin to a micro-brewery, a team of less than ten people uses a mixture of cutting-edge technology and traditional techniques to design the shapes, make the moulds, fire each piece and then decorate them hand.
Everything you see on a Liberty Flowers ceramic is hand-stencilled, even the outlines. The templates are cut with a very fine blade, and have to be cleaned with specialised brushes, due to their delicate nature. Stencilling allows for the same amount of detail as a hand-drawing, and immense control of colour. The coloured designs are protected by the glaze, meaning it won’t wear off for hundreds of years. With most ceramics, the colour sits on top of the glaze meaning it will show wear much sooner.
FUN FACT:Each Liberty Flowers mug goes through 21 separate stages during the making and decorating process.
“When we launched Liberty Flowers, we wanted a collection that made use of our iconic prints, but with a slight twist.”
Common ceramics are fired to about 1,040°, whereas Liberty ceramics are vitrified at 1,200°. This method risks more seconds as the clay is more likely to warp and twist, but when successful, it gives an incredibly durable product that will last hundreds of years. The Victorians used to call this product ironstone, because it’s so durable. This, plus the protective glaze, adds up to a product of heirloom quality.
“Liberty Flowers is synonymous with Liberty Fabrics, without the prints, there wouldn’t be a collection. It’s all about the fabrics for us, and the application of the fabrics to the products.”
The design options are restricted by the stencilling process, so each element of the print has to be carefully and deliberately placed. The design elements, handmade process and durable finish contribute to a highly collectable finished product.
“The beauty of Liberty Flowers is that it’s for everyone! I’ve collected Betsy for my Mum, she has a purple kitchen so it looks amazing.”
The colour is all done by hand, eye and extensive practice; if the consistency is even slightly off, the design appears washed out, or throws off the glaze. Just five decorators make up the team – they’ve have honed their skills to the point where the colour on each Liberty Flowers design is the same every time.
“We love seeing how other countries have interpreted Liberty Flowers, and how people make it their own in their own homes.”