A Night With Emma Bridgewater and Barbour
You know when you have those proper pinch me moments?
Well I had that a few weeks back, where it first started with an email from Barbour’s PR inviting me on a trip for the night to celebrate the launch of their new collaboration for Autumn Winter, with Emma Bridgewater.
Little me, who’s had this blog for eight years, who’s not really seen as a fashion kinda girl, and also shouldn’t really be trusted around a whole heap of pottery, going on an AW12 launch press trip? Well of course, I said yes. Because this collaboration sounded dreamy, and I sure as anything wanted a sneak peek of it before launch.
We hopped on a train from London and headed to Emma Bridgewater’s factory, based in Stoke on Trent. I’ll be honest, in that as we pulled up to the factory, I didn’t expect it to be so central. My imagination was thinking of this beautiful landscape around the factory, with meadows and sheep and, you get the picture. But there it is, in between houses and a garage, but oozing with many original features (and those windows, oh you know I love a window) - which made up for the lack of sheep!
After a brief cuppa and a chat with the team, we were given a tour of the factory and within moments of being between the machinery and dedicated workers, my respect and appreciation for these beautiful pieces of pottery went to a whole new level.
We met a fair few people in the factory itself, who showed us their part of the process, which included one of the men whose section was to remove the clay from the moulds and he’d roughly do about 500 mugs a day (that is impressive if you ask me, because I’d be proud if I managed ten!). My favourite spot was definitely the decoration studio which honestly blew me away, as the detailing on each pottery piece is so intricate and finely done. And what I also love is that each worker stamps their work at the bottom of the design, so if you love their designs you can look out for theirs specifically! Now that’s a nice touch.
The tour finished up with a cheeky wander around the factory shop, and of course we all picked up something. I mean, I couldn’t not go to Emma Bridgewater and not get a mug to add to my already overflowing collection of mugs, right?
We were then treated to a delicious lunch in the cafe, before taking ourselves off to the workshop studio where we’d be decorating our own mugs! The pressure was well and truly on at this point - and that certainly heightened when Emma Bridgewater herself came over to say hi, and gave me a few pointers (my sponge wasn’t wet enough, and I needed to not be so careful - just go for it she said!). So me and my indecisive brain spent the next forty minutes or so in deep concentration and actually, I think it paid off. The mugs are then sent away to the factory to be glazed, and arrive in the post a few weeks later so I’m excited to see the end result!
Also, another mug to add to the collection….
With a new skill under our belt (or so we thought…), we headed to Moddershall Oaks Spa and Hotel where we’d be spending the night. Upon arrival, we were gifted the most beautiful bouquet of flowers and a bag of Barbour surprises from the new collection (I spied the cute Barbour/Emma Bridgewater mug!), which was such a generous and thoughtful touch.
Unwinding fully happened for the late afternoon, as we took some time to catch up on emails, before heading to the spa for a hot stone massage. Now we all know I’m not so great at massages, and this one was definitely interesting as I found it hard to relax, however it made a fair impact the next morning, when I didn’t feel quite so tense on my shoulders. The pool itself was busy, with day guests enjoying a cocktail under the blue sky, and it truly was a relaxing environment that I’d love to come back and get the chance to fully make the most out of.
Evening came, and after a freshen up, we headed to one of the spaces for a preview and dinner with Barbour. As soon as we walked into the room, it made perfect sense why this collaboration was happening - two heritage brands coming together couldn’t have felt more right, which showed in even the smallest of details of this collection.
We spent the evening chatting about the collaboration, whilst enjoying a three course meal (I chose the goats cheese starter, truffle and parmesan orzo for main, and a cheesecake for dessert - so yes, I took full advantage of the cheese options, and yes it was delicious!) and it really was such a nice way to showcase the upcoming launch, and find out more about each brand.
The collection itself has some absolutely gorgeous pieces, and with the linings and prints designed by Emma Bridgewater, it really adds a twist on the classic styles. The pieces are versatile, yet still stick to what each brand believes in - and my favourite piece was definitely the classic khaki jacket with the green lining (similar to the tablecloth above). I also loved the navy sweater, which I think the male would end up wanting dibs on too.
I’m really excited to see how this collection is styled, once it’s launched and I for one, will be getting my hands on the khaki jacket, because it screams Rutland weekend to me!
But first, I need to find space for these three new mugs that I’ve since returned home with…
*Whilst I was very kindly invited on this trip with Barbour and Emma Bridgewater, all views and photographs are my own.