Emma Bridgewater and Sanderson
Emma Bridgewater began in 1985, after Emma tried and failed to find a birthday present for her mum. “I was looking for a really special cup and saucer, but everything was either too formal or too clunky. That was my eureka moment. I realised there was a gap in the market for pottery that was beautiful and practical – pottery for a relaxed, colourful, mismatched life.” Emma’s book ‘Toast & Marmalade and Other Stories‘, released in 2014, provides more insight into those moments which has shaped the business in the last 29 years. Today the company is run by Emma and her husband Matthew Rice, and our designs come from both of them. Most of the signature spongeware patterns, and the shape designs, are Emma’s, while Matthew is responsible for our timeless and much-loved Black Toast print, the cheerfully idiosyncratic Year in the Country range, and our Birds, Dogs and Animals mugs. Matthew’s illustrations are also subject to a collection of books on architecture documenting churches and other historical buildings in Stoke and Norfolk. We’re very much a family business, and a lot of our ideas come from Emma and Matthew’s everyday life with their four children – our Marmalade pattern, for example, was inspired by a family tradition of stocking the cupboards with home-made marmalade every February, and we made our lovely deep pasta bowls after Emma couldn’t find any that were big enough for the generous portions she likes to serve at home. We’re a thoroughly British company too – all our pottery is made in Stoke-on-Trent, the traditional home of British pottery, and we’re proud to be one of the largest employers of potters in the area.