Say hello to our new ceramic brand MAKE International! Established in 2005 by Director Dominic Speelman who later joined forces with renowned ceramicist Keith Brymer Jones in 2008, MAKE have established many exciting relationships with British designers to create unique and high-quality products.
MAKE have several ranges designed by the likes of Jane Foster, Bert & Buoy, Scion Living and Keith Brymer Jones himself which are all produced on his potter’s wheel at his studio in Whistable, Kent. The ranges previously mentioned are just a few that we’ll be taking on plus Tatty Devine and National Trust, whose stories we’re excited to share with you in this blog.
Let’s start with The Word Range by the big man himself, Keith Brymer Jones. This collection is based on all white porcelain ceramics with a coloured retro stamp of a word in typewriter font. The design takes inspiration from KBJ growing up with dyslexia and viewing words as shapes. A motivating example of transforming something commonly viewed as negative into a respected artefact, internationally recognised for its creativity. The leading item from the Word Range was the bucket mug designed for coffees and teas is well known for featuring a rude word, name or adjective. The bucket mug is a simplistic yet remarkable design it has expanded with the likes of bowls, egg cups, plates and vases.
Keith has a strong character and passionate about ceramics which is evidently reflected in his range. His work ethic is undoubtedly high as once upon a time he was making 1000 pots a day to fulfil 16,000 pieces worth of orders. He has over three decades worth of experience in ceramics and recently featured as a judge on BBC2’s The Great Pottery Throw Down. We’re humbled to have Keith Brymer Jones as a member of the Forma House Family as we predict this new relationship to evolve into something iconic.
Moving onto Bert & Buoy, listed as the contemporary nautical brand created by British designer and illustrator Bert Fowler. Bert’s childhood involved climbing hills, fishing in rivers and running around the wilds of nature in South Devon. These surroundings developed a big imagination and creativity for Bert who then went on to progress in the fields of Art Direction and Design.
After setting up his own creative agency, he set a goal to produce a brand that has a fresh modern take on nautical which launched within 6 weeks. As the response to the brand was fantastic, the Bert & Buoy website launched in 2015/16 starting relationships with independent retailers and galleries.
In 2017, Bert met KBJ at a trade show and immediately connected off the passion for nurturing British design. Bert’s maritime designs met with Keith’s knowledge in ceramic shape and form to curate a new mug crafted from light grey stained porcelain to resemble a beach pebble. We’re lucky to have this collaboration stocked at Forma House and pushing the status of British design.
Another collection that we’ll have is from another Devon native, Jane Foster. Jane comes from a crafty household as her father loved making things like a fibreglass canoe, summer house and guitar all with his bare hands! She attended Junior Academy of Music in London where she discovered screen printing in year 12. Encouraged by her art teacher, Jane would use the art room to cut paper stencils and screen print on fabrics and t-shirts. This is when Jane the designer was born.
Although she had a love for screen-printing, Jane went onto study violin and piano at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Then did her PGCE in music, drama, art and dance which led her to teach classroom music for 10 years. Years later, Jane rediscovered her joy of screen printing and progressed as a textile designer screen printing fabric, to make bags, cushions and quirky toys which she began to sell wholesale to large retailers.
Jane would order mugs from MAKE International where Head of Design, KBJ noticed ‘Jane Foster Designs’ listed as a delivery address and expressed interested in collaborating on a range of ceramics and homeware. The range of Jane Foster mugs were produced years later including – the panda, fox, cat and lion. Jane’s collection is inspired by 60s and Scandinavian design.
The Keith Brymer Jones National Trust Collection contains six elegant porcelain mugs, each partially-glazed in a colourful hue, inspired by his time spent at National Trust properties around the country. The contemporary form of these mugs is complemented by the clean & understated shades, selected to reflect the dramatic coastlines, wide open landscapes, historic architecture, and treasure troves of arts & antiques in the care of the National Trust.
Designed from the master ceramicists’ Whistable studio, the collection is hand-finished with the National Trust leaf motif and KBJ logo side by side at the base of the mugs. These mugs are timeless style for the home and great for enjoying a small hot chocolate or fruit tea.
Speaking of hot, Scion Living is a vibrant British brand filled with bold colours and animal illustrations. One of the designers for Scion drew a little orange fox which went onto become the iconic design for the brand. They called this model, Mr. Fox later joined by Spike hedgehog, Barney Owl & Colin Crane.
What we love about Scion is their pride to represent the character of Britain and their commitment to use environmentally friendly and sustainable factories.
Last but not least, the founders of Tatty Devine are two friends Rosie and Harriet who design acrylic statement jewellery in a fun and distinctive way. They both studied Fine Art at Chelsea School of Art and ended up moving in together after graduation. Both of them had no interest in getting a ‘proper’ job and began selling leather wrist cuffs. After a while, they experimented with other materials such as plectrums. Since Harriet knew a lot of boys in bands, she would take discarded plectrums, punch holes in them and thread them onto chains and earrings.
In 2017, Rosie and Harriet collaborated with Keith to produce a ceramics range and chose up to eight Tatty Devine signature designs from the Classic Collection. Each mug features a coloured interior, retro flirtatious artwork and a black tinted handle. The collaboration carries eye-catching nature which is just the perfect amount of attitude and sass that the Forma House family needed.