Inspired by the display at Castle Howard, I contacted Deborah Sears, the owner of Isis Ceramics and she invited me to visit her in her studio near Oxford, which happily was very close to our next destination, the Luton Hoo (yup, seriously – only in England).
Barely able to contain my impatience, it was our first port of call after settling in. The studio is in a restored barn called The New Toffee Factory. It’s light, airy, and best of all, crammed with gorgeous wares.
Deborah is utterly delightful. American by birth, she has spent many years in England and has an interesting “mid Atlantic” accent, a combination American pronunciation and English idiom. She’s an incredibly talented artist and designer, and her own collection of 17th and 18th century English Delftware inspired her to found Isis Ceramics.
We chatted with the artists, hard at work hand-painting the individual pieces.
Prince Charles has commissioned these beautiful ginger jars for Highgrove.
I already own Country Estate, Juliska’s commercially produced tableware featuring Deborah’s designs. (Table settings showing it in action are here and here). I am seriously considering a bespoke set for our own family and am inclined towards the green colour. With so many beautiful options, though, it’s hard to choose.
We thoroughly explored all the different shapes and sizes on offer, including bowls, plates and mugs. Deborah makes a mug suitably sized for soup, a holdover from her American upbringing. The English would rarely consider drinking soup from a mug!
Eventually we took our leave. Deborah was a gracious hostess, sitting with us for a long time as we pondered options. We had enjoyed a wonderful afternoon, and I will have lots to think about for the remainder of our holiday.