Royal Stafford pottery boss lifting lid on future talent
POTTERY boss Norman Tempest has won national praise for his efforts to give up-and-coming British designers a way into the ceramics industry.
The managing director of Royal Stafford, in Burslem, has been named winner of the Backer of British Design award following the launch of the English Eccentrix range.
The collection, made at Royal Stafford's Overhouse Manufactory, features the work of six contemporary designers, who are winning orders from across the globe.
It was Mr Tempest's aim to bring together the best of British design talent, while offering the expertise and knowledge of an established manufacturer.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
He said: "What we are trying to achieve with English Eccentrix is not your mainstream, run-of-the-mill products. This is something new and exciting.
"It all started because I would get people, fresh out of college, calling me up telling me that they wanted to make pots.
"It got so that I would know by asking just a few key questions whether they really had what it takes, and I would ask them to go away and think a bit more about their ideas and work on their designs.
"For those who did come back, it got quite interesting. These are the most determined people you can imagine and that's what makes it exciting – these are young people with some really different ideas."
The English Eccentrix range has been on show at some of the most important international trade fairs, most recently the Ambiente Fair, in Frankfurt.
It has proved extremely popular with buyers at home and overseas – with the systems already in place at Royal Stafford enabling designers to secure deals with the likes of Bloomingdales in the U.S.
A key element of the success of English Eccentrix is the way it marries eye catching design with traditional techniques.
Royal Stafford's factory is steeped in history with manufacturing on the site dating back to the late 1700s.
In 1869 the old works were taken down and rebuilt by Edward Challinor. The building went on to be home to a number of pottery companies before Barratts of Staffordshire took it over in 1943.
In 1992, Royal Stafford was formed out of Royal Stafford China, which was also based in Burslem, and Barratts.
Today, Royal Stafford employs a total of 80 staff. Norman praised his team at Royal Stafford for the role it plays in transforming the English Eccentrix designs into high quality products.
He said: "The danger for designers who go out and do it all themselves is they work very hard for very little reward and while they are doing that they are not designing, not thinking, not expanding. It is very easy to get discouraged and give up.
"But even in Stoke-on-Trent, I don't think there are many places of our size that have extended a hand to these young designers.
"I haven't hired these people. We just work with them and treat them as customers but give them as much, or as little, help as they want.
"These designers are using our contacts and expertise and links and the skills of our formidable workforce.
"We are giving the designers the opportunity to have their items made at the highest level."
Dr Laura Cohen, chief executive of British Ceramic Confederation, said: "It is really important young and innovative UK designers are encouraged to work in and strengthen our ceramic manufacturing industry."
Norman was short-listed for the Backer of British Design Award, part of the Homes & Gardens Magazine awards, along with Paula Nickolds, buying director for home at the John Lewis Partnership, and Christopher and Suzanne Sharp of The Rug Company.