Lorna Bailey

Lorna Bailey

Lorna Bailey was born on 10th February 1978, and was brought up Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. She has lived throughout her life in and around the Wolstanton district of Newcastle-under-Lyme and it is this area from which the majority of the names for her designs are taken.

Lorna attended Oaklands Nursery in Porthill, Ellison Primary School in Wolstanton and Wolstanton High School. From there she attended Stoke-on-Trent College leaving with a B.Tec National Diploma in Design (Ceramics).

Stoke-on-Trent College is the successor to the Burslem School Of Art where Lorna`s illustrious predecessors in design, namely Clarice Cliff, Susie Cooper, Charlotte Rhead, Fredrick Rhead and Mabel Leigh amongst others all studied. Indeed due to her bold, striking designs Lorna is often referred to as the next Clarice Cliff!

After college Lorna joined her father's new business, LJB Ceramics, at the Old Ellgreave Pottery, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, which produced Toby Jugs and other decorated pottery, where she initially worked as a paintress. At the same time, she began designing a series of highly colourful cottage, trees and abstract patterns very closely based on the pottery of Clarice Cliff. These were produced by the Old Ellgreave Pottery in vivid underglaze colours (unlike the on-glaze or overglaze decoration typical of Clarice Cliff ware).

In December 1995, when Bailey was just 17 years, her House and Path and Sunburst patterns became the first to be put into full production. These were painted by Bailey and a small team of painters on to a range of traditional and Art Deco shapes, including vases, jugs, teapots, sugar shakers, cruets, candlesticks and wall pockets. They were sold primarily to trade buyers. In addition to being marked with a factory stamp, Lorna Bailey has personally signed almost every one of her pieces.

In 1998, Lorna's designs received a considerable boost in popularity following a commercial co-promotion in the July edition of Collect it! magazine, which featured her Astro Rocket Sugar Sifter, which had been commissioned by the magazine, on the cover. The limited edition of 250, available for purchase only through the magazine, sold out within hours. Following the huge interest that resulted, the Lorna Bailey Collectors Club was formed in September 199 and by 2006 it had grown to 1000 members. Lorna's commercial success was acknowledged when she was honoured as Midlands Business Woman of the Year for 1998.

In March 2002, Lorna married Tim Proctor. This event was marked by the issue of a small ceramic wedding cake which was sent out as a gift to all Collectors Club members.

In February 2003, LJB Ceramics changed its name to Lorna Bailey Artware. The following month, the factory moved into new premises at Top Bridge Works, Burslem, moving again In October 2004 to The Old Post Office, Burslem.

In July 2005, Bailey was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Staffordshire University for her services to pottery design. In December 2005, Bailey issued the first of a series based on Pop and Rock Legends of the Twentieth Century with a ceramic figure of John Lennon dressed in the outfit pictured on the cover of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Figures of the other Beatles later followed, together with other wares depicting members of the group. These were produced in collaboration with The Beatles Story Museum in Liverpool.

In 2007, Lorna was elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), which was ironic as Clarice Cliff had never received such recognition in the 1930s.

In January 2008, Bailey announced her decision to retire from the pottery industry to concentrate on her family life and in May 2008 Lorna Bailey Artware went into voluntary liquidation.  Fortunately for the ceramics world, however, Lorna Bailey is once again designing Art Deco inspired ranges, under the name of Lorna Bailey and Lionel Bailey Ceramics.