holly rance earthenware mug designer

Holly Rance earthenware mug designer

Homegirl London pays homage to Holly Rance.  Holly specialises in earthenware pottery with a penchant for earthenware mugs.  Her tableware selection also includes a serving plate, pouring jug and utility jug.  The hand slip-cast earthenware products are all made in Stoke-on-Trent and decorated with Holly’s delicate motifs (beach huts, boats and bicycles, to name but a few).  Her collection also includes the Love range with pure 24-carat gold lettering and her celebratory wedding gift mugs.  I caught up with Holly Rance to find out more.

holly rance mug selection

Mug Selection

Meet Holly Rance

Holly wasn’t intending to make tableware products; she actually studied Business in Property at Bristol UWE.  She developed a love for property and architecture which then extended to interiors; mainly kitchens.  She explains how she became interested in tableware – “After many work placements in London, I realised it was my creative streak that I needed to satisfy.  To be honest, commercial valuations were not going to do that!  I was lucky enough to have a fantastic opportunity to work for the director of Peony faux flowers.  It was here that I gained an insight and understanding of just what it takes to run a creative homeware brand.  This experience really inspired me to make my own products.”

holly rance

Holly Rance

Holly’s passion for tableware stems back to her childhood.  She explains – “Every mealtime was an occasion for my family with all the food being homemade.  We always sat around a table to eat with all the generations coming together.  These were happy times which I remember fondly.  I can even recall the wonderful cooking aromas wafting from the kitchen, helping with the food preparation and the pride I took in laying the table.  The inspiration for my business comes from those happy times.  With my grandparents passing, I inherited their crockery which still evokes clear memories of drinking tea out of the cups or eating delicious cakes of the side plates.  These feelings inspired me to create tableware which I hope will evoke emotion for its users.  I want to inspire, captivate and celebrate the important things in life.”

holly rance mug

Tea Mug

Holly has always been interested in sketching and drawing.  She reminisces – “As a child, I would enjoy drawing and this developed into a love of painting in oils.  Art was my absolute favourite subject at school.”  With the winning combination of enthusiasm for tableware and her artistic background, Holly set up her business in February 2014.  She spends her time between Stratford-upon-Avon and St Ives in Cornwall.  She explains – “Stratford is great for Cotswold links and centrally based to my suppliers.  St Ives has been a second base for me and somewhere I’ve been visiting for a long time.  I go back as often as possible; it’s just a magical place.  It is somewhere which inspires me, particularly Porthmeor beach, which you’ll notice in my designs.”  Holly works mostly alone but does have various family members to call upon should she need a hand!

Holly Rance Collection

Holly specialises in earthenware which she describes to me – “Cream coloured earthenware is a traditional Staffordshire product made in the potteries located in the Stoke-on-Trent area.  Slip casting is when the liquid clay is poured into a mould.  This is then fired to a porous state and it can be made impervious by the use of glaze.”  Holly starts by designing the shape and dimensions of the products which are then made into a mould.  These are then hand slip-cast in the potteries of Stoke-On-Trent by skilled craftspeople and hand-decorated with silk-screen designs which have been drawn by Holly.  She tells me – “My style is very simple and regularly evolves from pen and ink sketches or diary entries.  These are often sayings I have written down or collected over time.  I wanted everything to look effortless and clean.  I’ve always loved sketching but can get caught up in the finer details so I tend to draw and then strip the design back.  My work is simple, delicate and timeless with a nod to the traditional.”

holly rance mug message

Mug Message

Holly really does have a penchant for mugs.  Her clever hybrid creations are the perfect drinking vessel for tea and coffee drinkers.  She explains – “I’ve tried to capture the elements that tea or coffee drinkers like from a cup or a mug and merged them into one!  The mug is as thinly slip-cast as earthenware will allow and the handle accommodates the smallest or largest of hand.”  The main mug collection features simple images which conjure up memories of the coast, countryside and socialising.  Expect to find anything from an anchor, beach hut, boat, umbrella, bicycle or cake on the front.  Inside these mugs is a lovely saying, for example, the anchor mug says – I’ll love you till the ocean is folded and hung up to dry – how sweet!”

holly rance core mug range

Core Mug Range

The Love range is adorable, Holly explains – “I always wanted to create something a little extra special and I think the decoration with pure 24-carat gold has achieved that.  The mugs feature a heart on the front and inside are the words – I love you or with love x.  It’s a simple design but the gold adds that wow factor and people are fascinated by the fact it is real gold!  I’m very much looking forward to adding to this range.”

holly rance love mug

Love Mug

The ‘Mr’ and ‘Mrs’ range is currently available in monochrome.  Holly tells me – “I was inspired to design these mugs after my longing to give a newlywed couple something a little personal.  These mugs are a little different; a keepsake and a functional day-to-day item.”  The Mr and the Mrs can be bought separately so will suit any combination – Mr and Mr / Mrs and Mrs / Mr and Mrs.

holly rance mr and mrs mugs

Mr and Mrs Mugs

The collection also includes a large serving plate (available only at selected outlets) and two different sized jugs, a pourer and utility option.  Holly says – “My love of cooking was definitely the inspiration behind these items.  The serving plate very much caters for how I like to have a help yourself attitude to entertaining and display a range of food in the centre of a table.  The pouring jug is printed with the words ‘Say when …’ which everyone utters at some point!  This is great to use as a milk jug, for gravy or to pour lashings of custard onto your puddings!”

holly rance utility jug

Utility Jug

The utility jug replicates the simple style of the brand and is made for a multitude of purposes – displaying flowers or utensils, as an ornament or used just like a jug!  Holly has plans to expand her tableware range in the future so watch this space!

Buy Holly Rance Products

If you want one of Holly’s mugs or jugs, go to her website: Hollly Rance Link.  She can ship overseas and gift wrap the products.  Holly can also make bespoke products which may involve a minimum order if you are interested to send her an email via the website.  Product price points – Mugs £18.00, Gold Mugs £20.00, Large Serving Plate £49.50, Utility Jug £15.00 and Pouring Jug £12.50.

Author: Homegirl London.  Photographs: Holly Rance.  Thanks: Holly.