Last year we made a trip to Stoke-On-Trent to meet the people who make Anna's mugs and find out a bit more about how they are made. We discovered a process that was far more complex and hand made than we had ever imagined; it was fascinating so we thought we'd share some of the things we learnt on our trip along with a few 'behind the scenes' pictures...
The starting point for every mug is fine bone china.
The pottery we work with, Hudson & Middleton, is in a magnificent Grade II listed building in the heart of Staffordshire and is known for it's fine bone china. It's one of the last remaining potteries in the UK and is proud to remain 100% British in it's manufacturing process.
From the raw material, the liquid clay is poured into moulds and then left to dry...
Handles are made and attached before the mugs are fired for their first 'biscuit firing'
There's lots of trimming and finishing involved at each of these stages which means that lots of hands are involved in the process!
Once the mugs have been biscuit fired they're then glazed and fired again before they are decorated. At each stage they're checked for cracks and imperfections.
The printed decorations (printed in special ceramic ink- all very complex) are then hand-applied to each mug. It takes a steady hand and a lot of skill to get it just right. And some good motivational posters ;)
The result of our trip was 5 new designs of mugs - Hot to Trot, I Used to be a Caterpillar, Morning Assembly, Splish Splosh & Fishy Friends. The images come from Anna's children's book which was published last November.
If you haven't seen them already then you'll find them on the website here >> And next time you pick up your mug we hope you think of all the skilled people that were involved in the making!