Homegirl London pays homage to Repeat Repeat. No I’m not repeating myself, the name is correct and it refers to the duplication of a design pattern. This business makes contemporary bone china in the heart of British pottery industry in Stoke-on-Trent. The owners are Gillian Naylor and Mark Faulkner who are partners in every sense of the word. They pay heed to traditional techniques which they fuse with fresh modern designs. Expect to find a large selection of bone china mugs plus tableware sets – plates, bowls, teapots and jugs plus a cute selection of baby products like christening mugs, egg cups and bowls. You’ll find a great mix of white and colourful bone china pieces with beautiful designs. I caught up with Gillian and Mark to find out more about Repeat Repeat.
Repeat Repeat – Britannia Teapot and Mug
Meet the Repeat Repeat Designers
Gillian Naylor and Mark Faulkner met on their degree in Surface Pattern Design at North Staffs Polytechnic. They tell me – “Whilst the course encompassed decoration of all types of surfaces, we enjoyed screen printing on textiles and plastics. Funnily enough we both chose not to get involved in the decoration of ceramics!”
Repeat Repeat – Gillian Naylor and Mark Faulkner
Gillian and Mark set up the business straight after leaving the Polytechnic. They explain – “We loved the process of creating a design on paper and then following that through into production. We wanted to create products ourselves and sell them to shops directly. Our driving force was the thrill that we’d get if someone actually purchased something that we had produced. That thrill is still with us today!” The business evolved gradually from the summer of 1984, they tell me – “Initially we made surface pattern designs for textiles and illustration for magazines, gift cards and wrap. We used the money from these projects to buy printing materials to produce our own products. We printed onto plastics and made shower curtains, cushions and jewellery. We literally walked into shops with our products and asked the owners if they’d like to buy them and it worked!”
Repeat Repeat – Mug Selection
They are based in Stoke-on-Trent, the heart of the pottery industry. They reminisce – “At that time Stoke-on-Trent was a hive of activity with factories of all types producing an amazing variety of ceramics. Working within this bustling environment it wasn’t long before we got involved and adapted our designs to work on bone china. In spite of the decline of local industry, we’re determined to fly the flag and keep the traditions of the English potteries alive here.” As for the company name, they reveal – “We designed lots patterns for textiles. Basically in textiles motifs are repeated in blocks. When the blocks are repeated they need to ‘join’ sympathetically to make the motifs blend and flow. This process is called putting a design ‘into repeat’ hence the name.”
Repeat Repeat -Plum Flower Mug
They explained how their partnership works – “We are partners in life and in business so we’re not sure who the boss is! We get on very well both in and out of the office. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and work in sync to get things done. If a design that we are working on is not up to scratch it’s okay for one of us to say “It’s rubbish!” We can then re-work the design without any prima-donna designer histrionics … and if you believe that you’ll believe anything!” The freedom of being their own boss is important, they explain – “We are a relatively small company so we have the ability to change direction fairly quickly and adapt to market trends. That keeps things fresh and fluid, so every day is different. We feel really privileged to earn a living doing something we love.”
Repeat Repeat Collection
Their bone china collection is extensive featuring mugs, tableware and nursery ware. They are so passionate about bone china that it’s infectious – “We love bone china. It’s delicate as well as being quite strong. It starts with liquid clay poured by hand into moulds and after around twenty hand processes and three kiln firings it’s ready. The manufacturing process also excites us. It’s fascinating watching the pottery workers. They have tremendous levels of skill and some of these techniques have not changed in centuries. We love being part of that heritage.”
Repeat Repeat – Tulip Sprig Espresso Cup, Saucer and Jug
You’ll find a real mix of designs because they don’t have a particular style – “Sometimes our ranges evolve slowly, or they leap into other directions. There are two of us involved in the design process so our ranges can be quite eclectic. It’s exciting to produce ranges that are Avant-garde and push the boundaries but our designs need to be commercial enough to perform in the marketplace.” The bone china mug range shows some of their designs, for example, Menagerie features owls, foxes, stags, deer, giraffes and birds.
Repeat Repeat – Menagerie Mug
The silhouette selection bears animal figures of dogs, cats, chickens, cows plus more.
Repeat Repeat – Silhouette Mugs
They also have an alphabet initial collection with bold typographic letters which come in monochrome.
Repeat Repeat – Alphabet Initial Mugs
It’s not all about illustrations and patterns – “We developed a pure white range of china with raised patterns. No colour at all – which was a first for us.”
Repeat Repeat – Tom Tom Plum Mugs
They also make some unique shaped pieces – “The more we worked with ceramics the more we became interested in the actual shape of the ceramics. Take our Skinny Jugs; these are tall and slender while the Plum Mugs are nice and chunky.” See the picture above for Plum Mugs.
Repeat Repeat – Shapely Ceramics
Buy Repeat Repeat Products
If you want to buy these products go to the website at Repeat Repeat. To give you an idea about prices bone china mugs cost £12.95-14.95.
Author: Homegirl London. Photography: Repeat Repeat. Thanks: Gillian Naylor and Mark Faulkner.