This week I’m interviewing a lovely lady whose business is a real family affair and she makes the most exquisite figurines… If you’re looking for gift ideas that would be cherished, then take a peek at what this lady can do! Hi Barbara, welcome to the blog:
Hi I’m Barbara from Barbara Lea Pottery, based on the Fylde Coast. I make handcrafted figurines and gifts and am helped by my lovely family, husband Allan, son Adam and daughter Clare.
You started trading in 1989 and your beautiful unique and bespoke figurines are certainly very collectable. What made you start up your business? Have you always done that line of work?
That’s a good question! My first career I trained for was a cook/baker, then I was a singer, but I have always loved art, painting, photography etc… but it was only after I had my first child that I decided I needed an outlet and signed up at a local pottery evening course and loved it ! Although everyone there were making pots the tutor didn’t mind that I did my own thing and made figures. I had a good reaction from family and friends so decided to jump in the deep end and invest in a kiln and trade fair! I never looked back.
The figurines are bespoke handmade pieces, so each is totally unique. What inspires each sculpture?
I have always been inspired by people’s attitudes and stances, there’s just something special about capturing a moment, whether it be in clay, paint or photography. In my work I endeavour to capture the spirit of children and family. Just observing my family and friends is all the motivation and inspiration I need, in fact each child range is named after a member of the family!
Your elegant collection of figurines include depictions of mother & child, brides/bridesmaids, father & son etc. What type of figurine seems to be the most popular?
As we can incorporate wedding colours and add names, dates etc..our wedding range is the most popular, bridegrooms, bridesmaids and pageboys gifts, even the cutesy Bride and Groom customers sometimes buy for cake toppers! But a close second is the `Mother & Baby’.
I personally adore the Winter Ladies Collection – they are so cute! What’s your favourite figurine style?
This is a difficult one! Erm, well I always love the latest design I’m working on at the time, probably because its fresh and I’m excited to see how the piece will be received, but I suppose the design I enjoy the most is the `Three Sisters’.
Each item is crafted in white earthenware, then painted in a cream glaze with touches of colour – they look very intricate – how long does it take to produce a figurine?
Well each piece is different, I tend to start a few pieces at the same time,but from starting all pieces to completion is approx 10 days. After I have made them, it usually takes approx, 4 /5 days to dry out, then into the kiln to bake, when cool, glazed, then back into the kiln.
Have you any plans to extend your range?
Yes, I have a few new ranges that will be going on the website in the New Year. One is a little boy range called Lewis. Also a range called `Cherish You Angels’, I have had numerous commissions for angels over the past few years so have designed the new range, it has took me a while to get them just right, but I’m now happy with the range now.
Have you ever been asked to produce any unusual figurines?
Well I haven’t had that many unusual requests but I did have a commission from a rock band, who wanted themselves depicted in clay, that was fun!
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Well if you popped around for a brew, you would find me in Jeans and Jumper! I know, not very exciting, but when you are working with clay, you have to be practical and warm!!
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
Oh dear, well I have to admit I am a lazy shopper, I do a lot of online shopping, the sites I tend to use are `Very’ and `Next’.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wishlist?
Well at the moment I have my eye on some blue DM’s , been hinting for a Christmas pressy, but if not,present to self!
Boots or Shoes?
Definitely boots! Love them and have many pairs. Plus love the fact I can wear high boots but never feel I’m teetering!!
Links you would like to share eg website/Facebook/Twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Barbara Lea Pottery:
twitter barbaraleapottery .
Thank you very much indeed for chatting to us Barbara, and I wish you continuing success in the future – you are one inspiring lady!
Photo credits: The photos have been published with kind permission from Clare Peace.