The Cottage Orné Quilt

The Cottage Orné Quilt
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Saturday, 12 February 2011

Emma Biggs Mosiac- The Made in England Project

I'm going off piste a little here, but not too much because mosaics are really patchwork in a different form.  Even so, I have never really liked them until I saw one by mosaic artist Emma Biggs in the Museum in Stoke on Trent.

As you will have gathered from previous posts, I love my china and in recent years have become addicted to spongeware which means of course collecting Emma Bridgewater. So a visit to her factory in Stoke on Trent became my ambition as I could browse the factory shop and visit the museum which I had always meant to do but never managed.

It was all very enjoyable but Stoke is rather a sad place.  It was once where most of the china and pottery of the world was made but now the wonderful Victorian buildings are quite decrepit and because of the credit crunch, the promised re-generation has stopped.  Nevertheless it is a Mecca for lovers of Staffordshire as there is so much to see there, too much for one visit.  I do wish I lived a bit nearer because I would love to go again and really explore.

Just after my visit to Stoke a wonderful new book was published, written and illustrated by Matthew Rice, which will give you a good idea of what is going on in Stoke and the variety of buildings there.
Here is the link -

This mosaic panel is in the entrance of the Museum and it draws you to it even though the colours are so subtle.  This is because it is made of many thousands of pieces of broken china, not the pretty bits but the back stamps - (click the pictures and zoom in for more detail)

Isn't it a wonderful idea?  I do love lettering!  It makes you want to go out and smash your china!  Well almost - but you know what to do with the broken bits now!

If you would to read more - here is the link -


Shirley said...

You are quite right Mary. Stoke needs a huge amount of money throwing at it to make it look more human again, if it ever was that. My sister worked at all the big factory names until one by one they disappeared. It is great to know that people like Emma and Matthew are doing their bit to keep it going. I am visiting family there for a few days and will try and get to see the mosaic. You can always tell someone is from Stoke on Trent and it is a dead giveaway - we always pick up a piece of crockery and immediately turn it to look at the backstamp. Just checking it is made in Stoke. You will spot us worldwide. Dressing a dresser is a work of art too by the way. Loved yours.

Jeana said...

Thank you Mary for the information on the book about Stoke-On-Trent. I visited Stoke-On-Trent in the early 1990s and I loved visiting all the different outlet shops. It was an amazing place!

I ordered my copy of the book this morning. I am also an Emma Bridgewater fan and can hardly wait for the book to come!

Thanks for writing such a fun and informative blog!

Maureen said...

I don't have many pieces of antique pottery, but after reading your post I pulled a small dresden platter out of my china cabinet and it has the loveliest stamp of a bee skep and says Dunnbennett & Co. Burslem England. Googled it and looks like that is in/near Stokes? I'll have to put that book on my wish list. Thanks, Mary, for helping me rediscover a treasure.

Little Welsh Quilts and other traditions said...

I'm so glad Maureen. Yes Burslem is, I think, one of the "five towns" that is part of Stoke on Trent (Shirely will put us right on this?) I am sure if everyone reaches into their china collection they will have lots of items from Stoke. That was why the the mosiac was so interesting - you could study all the backstamps of past and present manufacturers. For all EB fans you should get the Emma Bridgewater book by Steven Jenkins.

Jan said...

Wow! Stoke on Trent is definitely been added to my list of places to see on my next trip to England. Hopefully, the economy will make enough of a recovery for the town to be restored. It is so sad, and all too familiar, isn't it?

Shirley said...

There are actually 6 towns consisting of Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton and Longton. The Wedgwood Museum at Barlaston is a must to visit as is the Gladstone Pottery Museum at Longton. Well done Mary, Stoke is definitely having some interest shown now.

Jacky and Steph said...

I have always liked mosaic work. We have got Cirencester museum close to us here - a museum of Roman times with beautiful mosaic floors. I hadn't thought before, but you are right, mosaic is a form of patchwork!

Red Pepper Quilts - Rita Hodge said...

Love the subtle color palette!

Carol said...

What a great way to highlight the stamped china. I'd probably want to stand and try to read them all.