Earlier in the year, Forum Books in Corbridge organised a talk by Emma Bridgewater to coincide with the release of her new book Pattern & Design; The Secrets of Lasting Design. Emma Bridgewater is famous for her pretty patterned mugs and crockery and dinnerware (and much more now) which is all made in Stoke on Trent. The patterns are based on a cream background and can range from nieve spongewear to artistic fonts. They are instantly recognisable.
|Emma Bridgewater latest book. Pattern and the Secrets of Lasting Design.|
The Angel was packed out with fans of her work and Emma gave us all an insight into some of her most famous patterns which feature on her pottery and how the designs have developed, changed and been reimagined over the past few years.
As a small business owner and craftsman it was fascinating to hear how Emma and her husband Matthew work together as a team to create the patterns and to see a little into her world.
Emma is a self assured and shrewd business woman, which is not what I was expecting, she has a business worth £11 million in 2010 so she must be good! But despite being a great business woman she still seems very down to earth and unfazed by the limelight.
The stories written about the various patterns in the book and her inspiration behind each one is fascinating. There is such a wealth of patterns and variations that Bridgewater have used over the years it is hard to understand where all of the ideas could have come from. There is a vast catalogue of designs at the back of the book and there is also a collectors club and a healthy second hand market noticeable on ebay.
One of the things I took from the evening is that Emma Bridgewater is not afraid of discontinuing a pattern if it isn't working even if she adores it. If it doesn't make business or financial sense then it goes. But conversely this doesn't make her afraid of trying new things, sometimes a pattern comes back into fashion after years wallowing.
I think I could definitely learn a thing or two from that mantra.
My favourite Emma Bridgewater pattern which I'm lucky enough to own too is the Charm Bracelet collection that was produced on Porcelain, not her usual medium. The Charm Bracelet pattern is made up of curious charms and the odd gold sparkle and was available on a teapot and a tea set. I daren't use them as I love them so much!