Our love and collection of beautiful tea sets and dinnerware grows bigger with every pretty new range we see. From vintage to new, the variety is endless and with new ranges being produced and made into the most beautiful designs. Mix and match your old vintage china with new ones, allowing for a pretty eclectic mix. Katie Alice is a designer to watch, she has already designed ten collections for tabletop company Creative Tops, and her ranges just grow from strength the strength. I got to ask Katie a few questions about her and her lovely collections, Katie Alice for Creative Tops.
Q: How did you get into designing ceramic ware?
A: I was asked by tabletop company Creative Tops if I would like to curate a new range for them and have it sit under my name – they wanted to create a new lifestyle brand based on a real person so there could be a face behind the name and they liked the look and style of my country cottage at the time with all it’s vintage additions.
Q: What inspires you?
A: I love going abroad for inspiration, which I suppose is odd as my designs are very English style. But I always find it’s when I’m away from everything that I come up with ideas. I think, as I tend to pick up inspiration from visiting vintage fairs and antiques shops throughout the year, with this at the back of my mind, being away gives me the opportunity to think about them as wall as getting inspiration from different colour palettes or shapes and substrates from different countries.
Q: Which designers do you admire and why?
A: I always find this such a difficult question to answer – there are so many great designers out there across so many different areas of design whether it’s surface pattern or product design, and sometimes I see the most wonderful things in tiny little shops all over the place that I can never remember. But to pick one that really stands out to me I think it would have to be Astier de Villatte (previously on Livingcolourstyle). Ever since I first saw them about 5 or 6 years ago I’ve been smitten in love with the overall look of them as a brand and I am especially in love with the shapes they come up with. Unfortunately I’m still saving up for my first piece…
Q:Where would you love to see your pretty pieces sold or use?
A: I always much prefer seeing my pieces sold in small independent shops, being a small business owner myself I like to support other small businesses and I worry about how much harder retail has become for the smaller shops and the effect of this on the high street. I love seeing people mixing my pieces in with vintage bits at home – I recently saw a lovely blog post someone had done where they had made a vintage plate display on their wall and had also popped a Katie Alice plate in with it – it looked so pretty and sat so well with the vintage plates!
Q: So far, what has been you career highlight or proudest moment?
A: Last year I became the best selling brand for Creative Tops which is pretty amazing considering some of the other licenses they have.
Q: Which ceramic ranges (yours or other) do you use in your own home?
A: I have a real mix and match of stuff at home. I have quite a lot of my English Garden range – when I moved into my new house last year it was winter and I always miss the summer such so I brought home the most summery ceramics I have! I also have some lovely vintage green and white dinnerware and then some rustic plain white ceramics from the white company.
Q: From your own designs, what is your favourite piece and why?
A: I really love the Bird Song range which launched earlier in the year and I think my favourite is the little yellow palace mug with the two birds on it. I love the vintage illustration of the two birds and the colour palette is so pretty. Also the mug is just the perfect size for me as I hardly ever finish a full cup of tea (a habit I’ve inherited from my mum) and this is a nice small dainty one so I almost make it to the bottom!
Q: What is next, what should we look out for trend wise?
A: I’m not usually one to follow trends to precisely – I tend to just like what I like but I think it would be nice to see vintage done in a different way – maybe with a much more modern twist. I’m also really into black or grey backgrounds with florals and think this looks great in kitchen ceramics and home wares so it would be nice to see more of this coming through.
Q: If you were not a ceramics designer, what would you be in your next life?
A: Stepping completely away from the design world … I’ve always thought it must be amazing to be a midwife – I can’t imagine that there are many more jobs that are quite as rewarding.
Q: What is your favourite colour?
A: I usually say grey is my favourite but then get told off because “it’s a shade not a colour”! So after that it would definitely be that vintage turquoise/minty green. Every now and then you see an old front door painted in it that looks as though it hasn’t been painted in years and years and the paints all cracked and starting to chip off – I think it looks so beautiful.
Photos supplied by Creative Tops and Katie Alice.
Feature by Theoda Solms Iles.