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  VIEW FROM MY WORKSHOP . . .
BY DAVID EDWARDS, EDINBURGH

NEW ZEALAND ASSOCIATION OF MINIATURE ENTHUSIASTS APRIL 04 NO 47
Reproduced with the kind permission of the publisher.


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    A show that I attend each year is Scottish Miniatura which takes place over a weekend in August in Glasgow. This is run by the Hopwood family who also organise the two Birmingham Miniatura events and the Bears and Dolls show in Birmingham. Of course Scottish Miniatura is a smaller, quieter affair but, to a lone craftsman, this presents more opportunities for a bit of a chat and gossip.

My immediate neighbours last year were Peter Armstrong of Stokesay Ware and Kim Selwood, both old friends. Kim only had to travel from Helensburgh, just down the river Clyde, and on display was a vast array of his beautiful handmade furniture - Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Bentwood etc.

There are just two people behind the renowned Stokesay Ware, Karen Griffiths and Peter Armstrong, a twenty-year-old partnership, I first met them in 1986 at an early London Dollshouse Festival and could only describe their work as 'stunning' and have always stopped by to admire their pieces at a show. In a show guide they are defined as 'finely detailed handmade bone china dinner, tea & bedroom services, vases and plates'. So I thought I would take you to their workshop in Stoke Newington, North London, for a quick visit behind the scenes.

Detail from the kitchen range for the blue willow project
Detail from the kitchen range for the blue willow project.

The workshop is a ten minute walk from their Victorian home. It is an 1873 mews building and its original purpose was, of course, to stable horses. Now it has been converted into a small collection of homes, offices and small workshops. Situated between a fashion shop and a photographic studio, the Stokesay Ware two-story workshop has both light and warmth. Upstairs Peter mans the office and handles all the business side and the mould-making. Downstairs Karen produces the miniatures.

For a greater insight into what it really takes to make it big in the small world, meet Karen Griffiths who is arguably one of the leading miniature potters in the business. Karen is a professional potter who makes bone china miniatures and in doing so, pushes the boundaries of her craft almost beyond physical limits. She creates dinner, tea and bedroom sets that have to be seen to be believed. Her tureen lids fit perfectly, her teapots, less than half an inch high, pour beautifully and the fine detailing on her cup handles is almost unreal.

  Stokesay Ware 'new improved' bread pan
Stokesay Ware 'new improved' bread pan.
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STOKESAY WARE
37 Sandbrook Road, Stoke Newington
London N16 0SH, UK
Telephone 020 7254 5242
International +44 20 7254 5242

email peter@stokesayware.com
   
   


Content, design & graphics copyright © Karen Griffiths 2004