Please welcome Sarah Watson who runs the bath furnishings company, Balineum, in the UK as our guest blogger to THE PERFECT BATH. She lives in London with her husband (who does not work in the world of bathrooms, has no interest in ceramics, and whose only interest is cricket—-not the insect).

Thank you, Sarah, for this wonderful post:

As someone who owns a bath furnishings company, it’s fair to say I’m a bit besotted with all things related to bathroom design. Tiles border on an obsession. So recently I dragged my husband to Stoke-on-Trent, the ceramics capital of the England, for a day touring the British Ceramics Biennial.

The main exhibition space was inside the Old Spode Factory site. This now disused factory provided the perfect backdrop to showcase the remarkable versatility of clay. Students from the nearby Staffordshire University, pursuing their Masters in Ceramics, showed work alongside commercial companies making strides with this innovative material (think portable ceramic water filters for aid agencies and NGOs) as well as more practical applications in tiles, sinks, toilets and bricks.

There were so many highlights, some directly related to the bathroom and others that were just generally inspiring:

DTile – They call themselves makers of 3-D tiles, and they had tiles featuring built-it towel hooks and cups. There were also some tiles with a chalkboard finish (which could be lots of fun in a kitchen or restaurant). They manufacture small runs of tiles in almost any shape.

Flux – A new venture from the University of Staffordshire, where students from the MA Ceramic course make up the design team. I love the way they are reworking and modernizing the blue-and-white glazes that are synonymous with Stoke on Trent tableware (and they’ve got me thinking about counter top accessories in the same vein!)

Merete Rasmussen- An artist who creates standalone sculpture and wall pieces using single colour matte glaze finishes. I found her work incredibly alluring and the use of matte glazes is most uncommon.

Like most Londoners I’ve also been watching the St Pancras Hotel renovation over the last few years and thought it was especially lovely when its exterior emerged butterfly-like from behind its scaffolding – so it was really interesting to see that British company Charnwoodwere commissioned to make specialist bricks to match the historical brickwork of the building.

Speaking of London, the V&A is another great source for ceramic inspiration (and much easier to get to than Stoke-on-Trent!)
Sarah Watson

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