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Henrietta Clavering

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products that are inspired by nature

Driven to artistic success

Driving her children to school through a wintry Lincolnshire landscape, Henrietta Clavering was captivated by the changing scenery and the trees in particular. As a trained sculptor and artist she put charcoal to

paper and was soon absorbed in creating wonderfully detailed drawings of the images she had seen on a mundane school run. The drawings are incredibly fine and also very large –

the lone pine tree is five feet and the hugely popular hedge image another 60 inches. Those who saw them were captivated, perhaps not surprising since there is a huge revival of interest in nature and the changing seasons. Before long Henrietta was transferring the images to

fabrics and cushions and limited edition prints and hand cut lino prints with plans for wallpaper and other products and wherever she showed them they were snapped up. But it wasn’t until she asked a company in Stoke-on-

Let me tell you a story...

The art to selling good quality, crafted products

Trent to transfer a design onto a large cup and saucer for her father that she realised the potential for a range of china. Henrietta said: “We always drink black coffee from a

large cup and the handle had broken on my father’s so I sent off one of my designs to be made for him. “When it came back I was thrilled and I had so much

encouragement and help from the firm we made it happen.” Her company, Clavering Bespoke develops the designs

from the large scale fine art drawings and each drawing is considered carefully before being re-designed for the products. Some are only ever sold as original artworks, while others lend themselves perfectly to a particular form and materials. Henrietta said: “The tableware designs are made using

only English bone china, none of these products are made from imported china. In fact the whole process, from drawing to plate, is completely and utterly Made in the UK.”

Good quality, well made ‘craft’ products are back and if they are handmade in Great Britain so much the better. But pricing beautiful pieces to sell can

be difficult when so much time and expensive materials may have gone into their production. Customers don’t always appreciate the item unless they have them properly explained. Which is why Will Hobhouse,

chairman of the famous Heals in London

urged retailers and makers to tell the story behind crafted products to get the provenance of the item across. His seminar at the CRAFT show in

London’s Olympia was part of Top Drawer this year and a packed audience were there to listen to his words of advice. Although the store clearly operates in

today’s competitive retail environment, Will said it was not competing with John Lewis or Amazon for example but was clear about its place in the British market

and its determination to offer product for every room in the home. The importance of goods made in

Britain remains strong he said, but it continued to be difficult for good makers and craftspeople to make a proper living. “Even so, cutting corners to get the price down is a mug’s game,” he argued. Very often, telling the story behind

the product was the best way to sell and using the artist or craftsperson to sell the idea was even better, he said.

March / April 2015 Giftware Review & Home Interiors 51

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