Whilst many UK manufacturers have relocated to India and the Far East, where cheap labour enables higher profit margins, we at Chessell Pottery are proud to support British business. Not only do we make 15,000 pieces of our own Chessellware at our pottery on the Isle of Wight every year, but we also enjoy exclusive links with Emma Bridgewater Ltd, itself a faithfully British brand.
Emma Bridgewater’s much-loved pottery is still made and decorated by hand at their factory in Stoke-on-Trent, the traditional home of English pottery since the 17th Century. The cream earthenware originates from Staffordshire and the distinctive patterns are designed in-house by husband and wife team, Emma (née Bridgewater) and Matthew Rice. As they say themselves, “we’re British through and through!”.
At Chessell Pottery, as well as in our three London Pottery Cafes, we sell a wide range of Emma Bridgewater merchandise. They’ve even designed a special half-pint mug for us, with sponge-printed Polka Hearts and the wording, ‘I Love The Island’. In addition, we also offer customers the exclusive opportunity to paint blank Bridgewater pottery themselves. From the famous teapots and half-pint mugs, we stock a great selection of Bridgewater ‘biscuit ware’ (unglazed earthenware), including different sized plates, bowls, jugs and serving dishes. Customers love our exclusive access to Emma Bridgewater shapes and we think you can’t go wrong painting your own Bridgewater blanks, as the quality and shape is so pleasing in the first place!
Some customers like to try their hand at imitating popular Bridgewater patterns, such as the multi-coloured Polka Dots. Others choose to personalise plates and mugs with baby footprints or a child’s hand and finger prints. Even mugs that children have ‘splattered’ with their choice of paint look wonderful and we have had some amazing designs from artists young and old over the years. The finished product is completely unique and comes with the lasting memory of having made it yourself – which makes it an extra special gift, either to friends or yourself! Adding a personal message or commemorative date is another lovely touch.
Many of our customers have built up eclectic mixes of their own hand-painted dinner sets, breakfast sets, and collections of mugs and plates over months, or even years, of visiting our studios. Because they all originate from the Bridgewater mould, these various pieces combine beautifully – and sit comfortably side-by-side with any of the Emma Bridgewater designs.
We know our customers love our pottery and we’re proud to able to state that it’s made in Britain, either at the Bridgewater factory in Stoke or our own pottery studio, here on the Isle of Wight, where we use the very same slip casting methods as the factory in Stoke. As Pottery Cafe’s co-founder, Emma Bridgewater, states on her famous Union Jack design, that’s what makes us ‘Truly Great’!