Linda Bloomfield

Profiles: Linda Bloomfield

Linda BloomfieldHomegirl London pays homage to Linda Bloomfield.  She actually started off training as a scientist before fulfilling her dream in 2004 of becoming a potter and maker of thrown porcelain tableware.  Linda designs a handmade range of everything you could want to adorn your dinner table; tea set, cups, mugs, jugs, plates, egg cups and has recently introduced a selection of manufactured items.

Her vessels are simple and organic in shape and often with dimples instead of handles.  Linda is known for mixing her own gorgeous colour glazes which are unique to her work and make her pieces pretty and unique.  Linda is most certainly the mistress of colour glazes, she has written a book on the subject and teaches a course.  I caught up with Linda to find out more …

Q: Tell me about your design background.

A: At 16 I learned to throw from a studio potter in Chesham while taking ceramics O Level at school when I became interested in the work of studio potter Lucie Rie.  I studied Engineering science at Warwick University: BSc 1983-6, PhD 1986-1990.  After working as a research scientist in Japan and London, I lived in California for 3 years 1997-2000.  While I was there, I saw a book on Eva Zeisel, which sparked my interest in mid-century modern design.

Q: Why set up your business?

A: It has always been my dream to become a professional potter.

Q: Where are you based and why?

A: My husband is Londoner so my studio is in the garden in west London.

Q: How many people work at your company?

A: It’s just me plus an accountant and a mould maker.

Q: Describe your design style.

A: Simple, modern, organic

Dimpled Bowl, Linda Bloomfield

Handmade Porcelain Dimpled Bowl, £24

Q: Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?

A: Tactile surface textures from nature: marble, eggshells.  Forms inspired by Japanese, Scandinavian and American mid-century biomorphic design.  Colours from nature: jewels, seashells, lichen and mid-century textiles.

Handmade Dimpled Cup and Jug, Linda Bloomfield

Handmade Porcelain Dimpled Cup, £20 and Handmade Pouring Bowl, £24

Q: What’s your fascination with colour in glazes?

A: My fascination with colour in glazes comes from my background in science.  My father is a professor of physics and encouraged me to follow a career in science, but I also loved making things.  A Cascaid career test at school came up with the answer: colour technologist.  I am obsessed by mixing my own colours in glazes and prefer not to buy ready-made colours.  I use copper oxide, cobalt, manganese, nickel and rutile.  I have written a book called Colour in Glazes for A&C Black and teach a course on glazes at West Dean College.

 Tactile Mug, Linda Bloomfield

Tactile Porcelain Mug, £12

Q: Tell me about your collections.

A: I make porcelain tableware with a tactile satin matt glaze and dimples instead of handles.  My manufactured range has to throw ridges to give a handmade feel.  The colours are hidden on the inside, inspired by mid-century ceramics such as the Poole Pottery Twintone range and Branksome china.

 Egg Cups, Linda Bloomfield

Handmade Egg Cup, £12

Porcelain Pourer, Linda Bloomfield

Handmade Porcelain Pourer, £36

Handmade Tea Set, Linda Bloomfield

Handmade Tea Set, £120

Q: Tell me about your bespoke service.

A: I make dinner sets for weddings with the initials stamped on the bottom.  I have also made a gaiwan (a Chinese lidded tea bowl) for Lalani, a tea company.  I’m currently making a tableware range for a new café in the Royal Albert Hall.

Dinner Set, Linda Bloomfield

Handmade Porcelain Dinner Set, £74

Q: Which designer do you admire and why?

A: Eva Zeisel.  She lived to the age of 105 and designed beautiful organic shapes throughout her life.

Q: What’s the best thing about owning your own business?

A: Being my own boss.

Q: What one piece of advice would you pass on to someone wanting to set up their own business?

A: Keep trying and never give up.

Q: What’s coming up for the rest of 2013?

A: A new range of tableware to be manufactured by British stoneware pottery.

In terms of prices – they are higher for hand-thrown pieces and lower for manufactured range. For example, the handmade dinner set for 6 costs £399 and the manufactured dinner set costs about half that – £218.  You can buy from  Linda Bloomfield.  Linda has also written a book on Contemporary Tableware, published by A&C Black in January 2013 which you can buy from Amazon.

Credits: text by Homegirl London, images courtesy of Linda Bloomfield, special thanks to Linda.