hinchcliffe and barber ceramic tableware honours traditional skills

Hinchcliffe and Barber ceramic tableware honours traditional crafts

Homegirl London pays homage to Hinchcliffe and Barber.  This is a design partnership founded by the late John Hinchcliffe and Wendy Barber.  They started making ceramics in the 1980s and achieved great success.  Since John passed away in 2010 their daughter Georgia now works with Wendy to continue championing their British designed ceramic tableware.  Their style is typically English and rooted in classical and traditional crafts skills which is then adapted for contemporary lifestyle.  The Hinchcliffe and Barber collections – Spongeware and Dorset Delft are hand printed and include mugs, jugs, salad bowls and pasta bowls.  I caught up with Wendy and Georgia to find out more.

hinchcliffe and barber spongeware

Hinchcliffe and Barber – Spongeware Collection

Meet the Hinchcliffe and Barber Designers

The late John Hinchcliffe trained in textile design at The Royal College of Art and swiftly established a reputation for innovative and colourful textiles.  Wendy Barber was trained in fine art at the Slade School and specialised in tapestry weaving before forming the partnership with John Hinchcliffe in 1980.  Wendy Barber reminisces – “When I started seeing John’s work publicised, I realised that his work had a similar point of view to mine.  I was interested to meet him so I booked a place on his textile course in Cheshire at ‘Guild of Weavers and Spinners Summer School’ and the rest is history.”

hinchcliffe and barber

John Hinchcliffe and Wendy Barber

By 1980 John Hinchcliffe was reaching a natural period of closure for his textile output and wanted a new set of challenges and the chance to develop a new, more commercial body of work.  Wendy Barber brought a highly developed creative eye to the partnership and her judgement on the Hinchcliffe and Barber look was very influential.  Their goal was an aesthetic challenge: to create useful and beautiful homewares that would be immediately recognisable as Hinchcliffe and Barber.

hinchcliffe and barber john at work

John Hinchcliffe

Georgia Hinchcliffe worked in the fashion and advertising industries before joining the company in 2010 to help re-establish the brand.  Georgina tells me – “As the daughter of two such prolific and inspirational designers, it’s wonderful to be keeping the work alive.  Every day we have new ideas, new takes on designs that were first created over 30 years ago.  The partnership of 34 years is evolving and entering a new exciting era.”

hinchcliffe and barber wendy and georgia

Wendy Barber and Georgia Hinchcliffe

John Hinchcliffe and Wendy Barber were based in Wiltshire and in rural Dorset.  In the 1990s they moved to Normandy where they bought a large farmhouse with room for their ceramics production, gallery and shop.  However, since their return from France in 1996, Hinchcliffe and Barber have worked from Dorset.  Today, Georgia and Wendy work between their homes in Bath and Higher Melcombe.

Hinchcliffe and Barber Collection

Hinchcliffe and Barber’s extensive archive is made up of bold and colourful designs, which combine their flair for surface decoration with the requirements of purely functional items.  This is achieved by using a variety of traditional printing techniques, including block printing, stencils, wax resist and silk screening.

hinchcliffe and barber spongeware and splatter mugs

Hinchcliffe and Barber – Spongeware and Splatter Mugs

Spongeware: Wendy and Georgia tell me – “We love blue and white – cobalt and indigo traditionally used on ceramics.  Our popular Spongeware design belongs to a long history of Spongeware pottery but our interpretation uses sea sponges to create the dappled sponged effect.  This is finished with a majolica glaze to create our distinctive look.”

hinchcliffe and barber spongware collection

Hinchcliffe and Barber – Spongeware

Dorset Delft: This is a simple and sophisticated take on the everyday popular farmyard ranges featuring cockerels, hares, cows, pigs, ducks and and cats.  It looks just as good in a country kitchen as it would in a contemporary home.

hinchcliffe and barber dorset delft cockerel

Hinchcliffe and Barber – Dorset Delft Cockerels

hinchcliffe and barber dorset delft hare

Hinchcliffe and Barber – Dorset Delft Hares

Buy Hinchcliffe and Barber Products

To find out more and to buy the ceramics visit the website at Hinchcliffe and Barber.  They have a limited edition range of handmade studio ceramics available online priced between £19 and £150.  They will be launching a new collection of giftware in July at Harrogate in association with My Gifts Trade.

Author: Homegirl London.  Photography: Hinchcliffe and Barber.  Thanks: Wendy Barber and Georgia Hinchcliffe.