Pottery business Carters of Suffolk, based at Stonham Barns Park, has featured in a US TV series, ‘England Made with Love’. MD Valerie Baldry explains how it has boosted global sales
In a recent episode of PBS America’s TV programme, ‘England Made with Love’, viewers are taken on a journey through the fascinating world of artisan crafts, uncovering hidden treasures and meeting talented craftsmen and women who have dedicated their lives to their art. One of the highlights of the episode is the renowned Carters of Suffolk – a pottery based at Stonham Barns Park – celebrated for its handcrafted teapots.
Speaking about the programme, Carters of Suffolk’s MD Valerie Baldry says: ‘We are overjoyed to have been selected for this prestigious ‘England Made with Love’ episode. It is a fabulous meet the artisan series showcasing craftspeople who are valued and respected in England. Since the programme has aired, we have received over 400 orders from customers in the USA which shows the power of television. Many more orders are coming in as it has created a wave of new interest in our Carters of Suffolk website. It is an honour to have been featured and it has created a real boost to global sales.’
Tea is an integral part of British culture, and Carters of Suffolk has been crafting teapots for nearly 50 years to keep up with the demand for beautiful teapots. Their unique designs, ranging from whimsical to historical, have gained acclaim both in the United Kingdom and around the world. The teapots, known for their exquisite craftsmanship, are handmade, hand-painted, and beautifully decorated, making each piece a work of art.
Patrick Greene of Symbio Studios, the US-based company who made the film at the pottery, adds: ‘Carters of Suffolk’s unwavering commitment to quality and craftsmanship is evident in every teapot produced. The dedication of the artisans, who pour their love and effort into each piece, results in exquisite items appreciated by all who possess them. The joy and pride experienced by the craftsmen can be felt through their work, as they consider their profession a labour of love.’
‘England Made with Love’ offers viewers the opportunity to explore the intricate world of Carters of Suffolk’s teapot-making, shedding light on the passion, skill, and dedication that go into every piece. By showcasing this renowned company, PBS America continues to inspire appreciation for British craftsmanship and preserve the traditions that have shaped the lives of artisans like Carters of Suffolk for decades.
The tradition of ceramic teapot-making has a rich history in England, dating back over 300 years. Carters of Suffolk proudly maintains these traditional techniques, ensuring the continuation of time-honoured craftsmanship. The process begins with pouring a mixture of clay and water into a mould, creating the shape of the teapot. Skilled artisans then meticulously clean and smooth the pottery to perfection.
The clay pot is left to dry for 24 to 48 hours before it is hand-painted. With great attention to detail, a talented artist applies the first coat of underglaze, which enhances the vibrancy of the final colours after glazing. This step requires patience and precision, as every brushstroke contributes to the teapot’s overall beauty.
Once painted, the teapot undergoes the firing process in a kiln. Rising to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, the firing takes approximately 12 hours, followed by another 12 hours for cooling. This carefully controlled environment ensures that each teapot achieves its remarkable durability and adds depth to the colours and decorations. After the final firing, additional embellishments such as decals, platinum accents, and gold gilding are added, further enhancing the teapot’s distinctiveness. The entire process, from clay to finished product, takes about 24 hours.
Featured image: Valerie Baldry of Carters of Suffolk at Stonham Barns Park, Stonham Aspal – with the Jane Austen teapot – featured in the programme ‘England Made with Love’. Photography credit: Keith Suffling