Stoke-on-Trent has been the centre of British ceramic production since the 17th century. The 1980s and 1990s saw the industry decline as cheap imports became more popular but during the last few years young designers including Reiko Kanaka, Camila Prada, Emma Bridgewater and contemporary manufacturers such as SCP have returned to the city, working alongside big-name brands such as Royal Doulton and Wedgewood.
This ongoing development of British ceramics design talent is evident at Ceramic Art London, which takes place at the Royal College of Art this weekend (ceramics.org.uk). The exhibition is an opportunity to see and buy the work of more than 75 leading national and international ceramic artists, including established designers and newcomers. Check out Stuart Carey’s pastel tea cups (stuartcarey.co.uk) and Tanya Gomez’s vibrantly coloured pots (tgceramics.co.uk) if you pay a visit.
If you can’t make the show, look around the high street, which is also seeing a renewed focus on ceramics. Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser and Habitat have ranges that are on-trend and punch above their price in design quality. And ceramics now go beyond cups and bowls to include candle holders, picture frames, decorative objects and light shades. Look for good quality, lightweight pieces (it’s possible to see variations in light and shade through the finest china). Pastel shades, monochrome and two-tone ombre pieces are also right on trend.