Celebrating British Crafts
Original BTC was founded in 1990 by Peter Bowles, who launched his new lighting brand with the bone china Hector collection. With an unwavering commitment to local manufacturing, where else to produce Original BTC’s bone china lights than Stoke-on-Trent, the heart of the British ceramics industry for over three centuries.
Fascinated by the area’s rich industrial history, Peter set out to create a collection lights manufactured according to tradition by the region’s master craftspeople. Certain of their appeal, he approached a local bone china factory with his designs. Accustomed to producing tableware only, the factory workers took a little more convincing. Despite initial reservations, their skill and expertise helped create a beautifully crafted collection of hand-cast bone china lights, the success of which provided a much-needed boost for local industry. Such was his commitment that when a visit to the factory revealed it was under threat of closure he promptly took on the business, including all staff, whose years of experience would otherwise be lost.
While today we seek out all things handcrafted and handmade, the late 80s and early 90s were an era of mass-produced overseas production. Quality materials, craftsmanship and provenance were of little concern to most consumers, so Peter’s decision to launch a British manufacturing brand went very much against the tide.
Today, the factory is Original BTC’s lifeblood, producing the bone china components synonymous with many of our best-loved designs, including the Hector and Drop. With the forthcoming London Craft Week celebrating the very best of British makers, it’s clear that the tide has well and truly turned and we’re now living in an age where skill, passion and individuality are celebrated.
Ever the innovators, Peter and his son Charlie continue to explore and develop ideas for their bone china designs, with last year’s multi-faceted Hatton collection pushing bone china to its very limits.
In this video, you’ll see how the highly skilled process begins with raw clay being mixed with water to create a 'slip' that Is poured into moulds. Once set, the moulds are opened and the shade is removed and left overnight to dry before being 'sponged' to remove any lines or imperfections. The shade is biscuit fired then brushed once again. Finally, it is dipped in glaze then gloss fired for a natural white finish.
Our most recent bone china launches demonstrate the variety of designs we’re able to create with this most elegant and versatile of materials. Not only do we love to explore different shapes, but our new May pendant also introduces colour to our usually white designs. Here, you can see the May's shade being hand-painted in-house with clean, straight lines of varying widths.
“We are often asked to introduce colour, but maintaining bone china’s clear, white glow is integral to both aesthetic and function. Concentrating colour at the top and bottom of the May maintains the material’s purity when switched on and brings character and definition when off” explains Peter
To find out more about our range of bone china lights, visit one of our flagship showrooms in London, New York and Paris or one of our stockists worldwide.