Renowned ceramics artist Emma Bailey has launched a new range of pottery inspired by Stoke-on-Trent’s ballroom dancing heritage.
The Rialto Collection is made up of bespoke bone china pieces decorated with colourful hand-painted waltzing couples to bring together 1920s elegance with a Strictly Come Dancing twist.
Emma, who spent 16 years working for Wedgwood before setting up on her own, drew on the distinctive style of Clarice Cliff and used the on-glaze technique to create the plates, cups, vases and ornaments.
And to launch the range – named after Stoke’s Rialto Ballroom – she teamed up with K.Dee.K Danceworks, which has based in the historic building since 2012.
Emma, whose studio is at Middleport Pottery, said: “I love this new collection as it embodies so many things I am passionate about.
“I love taking inspiration from our cultural heritage and bringing it together with our current art and culture”.
“There has been such an interest in the art of pottery and decorating and the success of Strictly, being able to bring these things together is fantastic”.
Kieran Kelly, who owns the Rialto Ballroom and has run K.Dee.K Danceworks since 2000, said he was delighted to help showcase the range.
The launch saw Emma, who is frequently compared to Clarice Cliff, demonstrate her pottery skills, while Kieran hosted Charleston workshops. Kieran added: “I was visiting Middleport Pottery and wandered into Emma’s studio and my eye was immediately drawn to these amazing images of ballroom dancing and musicians on the plates and cups.
“The colours and the movement in the images are just breath-taking and I just wanted to be able to celebrate these fantastic pieces of work and have them in my dance studio”.
“Hand painting pottery is a dying art, and Emma is a trailblazer. She’s anchoring the skill here, it’s our culture and heritage”.
“Dancing is also an important part of the history of Stoke-on-Trent. After a Friday finish, the workers used to get their glad rags on and go dancing”.
“It’s been brilliant to link in with Emma I was really excited to showcase the work and celebrate the fact that so many of the people who worked in the Potteries once came here to dance.”