Who we are, our view of the world
Unusual Gift Ideas and Handmade Ceramics
We're passionate about design; we're proud to hail from Stoke-on-Trent, England and we're committed to merging the finest of skills and materials with a truly contemporary aesthetic.
We are steeped in the 250 year heritage of Stoke-on-Trent as a centre for handmade ceramics and value greatly the legacy that those that have gone before us have left. We don't however want to regurgitate all that has gone before, we want to create unusual gift ideas and handmade ceramics products which reflect the lives we live today, not those of our grandparents. For us, the heritage of pioneers like Josiah Wedgwood a true innovator in every sense of the word, give us the confidence to challenge the norms and seek to do things differently.
We're called The New English because that is what we seek to convey in everything we do. We reflect an Englishness and palette of design and creative influences in our handmade ceramics that from J.M.W Turner to Damien Hirst, Edward Elgar to the Sex Pistols.
How we make stuff - a quick tour
With the exception of plates, pretty much all of our pieces are cast. This process, which has remained unchanged for generations, involves pouring liquid clay (slip) into prepared plaster moulds.
Simply pouring liquid clay into the moulds is however just the start of the process. In the hands of our skilled casters we ensure that precisely the right amount of clay is left in the moulds for precisely the right length of time to ensure that we achieve the optimum wall thickness. Thereby balancing the translucency and delicacy of the body material with the strength required to help the piece withstand the rigours of everyday usage.
Where the shape being made is more complex, as in the case of a teacup for example, elements of the shape are made separately and then 'stuck' together using liquid clay. Requiring great skill, a lightness of touch and a steady hand to ensure a completely seamless (invisible) joint.
Once made up, the pieces are then dried to remove moisture before being fired in a kiln. It is this firing process which changes the composition of the body and transforms the clay into bone china. Referred to as 'biscuit' these pieces are then ready for glazing, decoration and subsequent firings.
In order to achieve the high gloss finish associated with bone china, a glaze needs to be applied. For the majority of our pieces we apply the glaze using specialised spraying equipment. This gives a wonderfully smooth, flaw free finish.
Having applied the glaze, the piece is fired once more in order the 'fuse' the glaze to the body of the piece. Once fired the body of the piece has a permanent gloss finish and can be left as is, or decorated either by the application of ceramic transfers 'decals' and / or hand painted or gilded elements. These once more being fixed a third and subsequent firings.
We make extensive use of precious metals in our work, and use both platinum and 22kt gold to enhance the appearance of our pieces. These precious metals are applied in a process called 'gilding' whereupon our skilled gilders will hand paint onto the piece liquid gold or platinum. This is again fired in order to fuse it to the piece, bringing the total firings thus far to at least four or five. A labour of love if ever there was one!
Quality is a given, not an option for us and so, in an attempt to ensure that all of our handmade ceramics we provide only the finest of pieces to our clients we check, check and check them again at each stage of the manufacturing process to ensure that we identify any marks or aberrations that may have found their way onto the pieces during the many stages of manufacture. Where we identify even the smallest of specs, we will polish it out to ensure a perfect surface. Of course with any larger aberrations, the pieces are rejected, scrapped and the materials recycled for future manufacture.Continue reading