For the latest in our series of collaborations, we caught up with Liz Jones, the designer-maker behind ceramics company Martha’s Grandad, who tells us about the creative process and how she uses colour in her work.
For a chance to win a handmade ‘Lizzie Bee’ porcelain dish by Martha’s Grandad, plus an Eco Chic furniture painting kit, head to the links at the end.
‘Martha’s Grandad’ started when drawing and making clay work with my young daughter Martha. Collecting flowers on our walks and learning the names of the garden birds with Grandad began this series of ceramic work that are all individually handcrafted. The pieces are all handmade in Wales using porcelain clay to include jewellery, framed tiles, bowls and greeting cards – with Grandad making the frames, Martha collecting the flowers and me doing the finishing touches!
I live in the beautiful coastal town of Conwy in North Wales and am fortunate to live within walking distance of the castle and picturesque quay, set against a stunning mountainous backdrop, the medieval walled town of Conwy, and it’s beautiful surrounding countryside. My studio is set in a stone outbuilding in the backyard of my home… where Martha has the freedom to be creative too!
The coastal paths and country walks have been a continuous source of inspiration whether being the flowers and grasses found along hedge ways with the buzzing of bumble bees or the various garden birds flying in and out of birdhouses.
Martha’s Grandad is a family business with my father as wood worker, daughter as inspiration and husband keeping body and soul together!!
The Garden Bird range for Martha’s Grandad consists of the most beloved of British garden birds – the Blue Tit, Robin, Wren and House Sparrow…. Martha loves learning about the different birds from grandad, especially their names and habits, and this is how the first range for ‘Martha’s Grandad’ was born.
The Garden Birds are individually painted onto handmade porcelain bowls and tiles making each a unique piece of hand illustrated ceramics. The tiles can be used as individual hanging decorations and are also available presented in handmade wooden frames by grandad himself! Earthborn Eco Chic in St John looks lovely on the frames. Martha’s Grandad is keen to support eco-friendly products and the paint has no nasty emissions and is better for the environment! The paint is easy to apply and sand before bringing the frames to life with Earthborn Furniture Wax.
RHS Tatton Park Flower Show
Designing the stand for the Country Living Marquee had been fun and seeing the different elements come together was rewarding. Working closely with Grandad the birdhouse display shelves were created…and choosing the right colours for the shelves was the fun bit!
The Blue Tit was the inspiration for the colour palette, using Yum Yum, Gingham & Grasshopper. These colours represented the hues and tones found in the feathers and markings of the bird and became the idea for the roof tops of the bird houses.
Earthborn Eco Chic Claypaint comes in 72 delightfully delicious colours, each with a quirky yet illustrative name. Working predominantly in clay myself, the Eco Chic Claypaint is joy to work with as it has a smooth slip like quality while keeping the vibrant pigment of colour.
Grandad’s birdhouse display shelves were mounted on the wall next and then stencils of garden birds complimented the different Earthborn colours – Kissing Kate on the wall with St John, Yum Yum, Grasshopper & Gingham.
Entering the Country Living Marquee for the first time was exciting as well as daunting. The space had been mapped out in my backyard at home so I was hoping all the items would fit in the space when it came to reality!
The days that followed were hot and busy but great fun meeting the different customers and stand holders.
Thank you Earthborn….your paints complemented each range of Martha’s Grandad work and the stand would not have been so eye catching if it wasn’t for you!
To be in with a chance of winning this beautiful handmade dish, plus an Earthborn Eco Chic kit containing:
two tins of Eco Chic Claypaint for furniture,
a tin of Furniture Wax
plus an Earthborn brush & apron