Three years ago, Jeremy and Cath Brown made the move from East London, to Devon looking for a slower pace of life and fresh air. It was here they set up their family-run design brand, Feldspar, dedicated to making ‘objects for life’.
Taking inspiration from tones, textures and elements of their surroundings, they work with local materials, such as Devon clay to create collections that include handcrafted mugs, cups, plates and other objects for the home. Passionate about making items that serve a functional purpose, Feldspar is also about finding beauty within the ordinary moments of everyday life.
Jeremy and Cath work with highly skilled craftspeople from across the UK to create sustainable designs that celebrate the timeless aesthetic of British craftsmanship. From the seed of inspiration to the creative manifestation, every aspect of their design process is infused with intention and care. The result is not only a beautiful collection of objects for the home but also an invitation to slow down and cherish the simple moments of daily life.
We spoke to Cath to get a little more insight into the life and heart of this family-run design studio.
Can you share a little bit about the origins of Feldspar?
We moved down to Devon when our son (now 3) was just 3 months old – it was quite spur-of-the-moment, we didn’t have a plan at all but when we got down here, we started making things; we bought a pottery wheel from a potter on the moor and just got going. It probably helped that we didn’t have any internet or TV, and had both of our families coming for Christmas so we needed to make lots of plates and bowls for everyone to eat off. Feldspar grew from this initial period of experimenting; we enjoyed it so much we thought we’d turn it into a business!
What brought you to Devon and how does it nurture and inspire your work?
The space and the fresh air. I think we were both pretty fed up with the lack of both of those things in London. It is so wonderful to have quiet and fresh air, to be able to go for a stroll on the moor for your lunch break. Living here really gives you peace of mind and allows you to focus on what’s important.
Can you tell us a bit about your creative process, what does a typical day look like for you?
We have two young kids so no two days are the same! Typically though, Jeremy is making our fine bone china products in the workshop we’re setting up on a cider farm, and I’m either at home working from our office or in the studio hand-painting the ceramics in either blue or 22k gold. But it all depends on what we’re working on at any given moment. Right now we’re experimenting with using bone china for lighting, it’s translucent so it lends itself excellently to lampshades.
What do you hope your designs bring to people’s lives?
I live by William Morris’s sentiment that you should have nothing in your home that you don’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful, and I hope our designs fit both categories! They have dimpled surfaces too, so they are designed to be very tactile and lovely to hold. It’s also a reminder of their handmade nature that these items have been crafted by a person and not by a machine.
What is inspiring you at the moment?
Mostly kids books! Some of the illustrations are so amazing and very inspiring; our favourites are Oliver Jeffers and Carson Ellis, so beautiful. We’re always inspired by antique shop finds too. We collect old toys, most of them are still in perfect working order 50 years on; they are examples of great design and manufacturing.
What are some of your intentions for the studio?
We just want to keep making, eventually we want to build our own house here in Devon, and in the process design and make everything that’ll go in it, from the floor tiles to the furniture.
When you aren’t working what is your favourite way to relax and unwind?
We go for moorland walks with our enormous pointer cross Bernard, cook lots, work on our tree house and have lots of family and friends to stay. We also spend a lot of time playing Lego with our son!
What would be your top recommendations on things to do whilst staying in Devon?
Definitely a stroll on the moor, even if its just a short stroll at Haytor where you get that space and those views, lung-fulls of fresh air and you might even meet some wild ponies. A coffee and a cake at the Exploding Bakery is a must if you’re in Exeter; they’re the best. A trip to the coast is also always good, whatever the weather. We always go to Putsborough on the North Coast, as it’s enormous and you can take dogs there (a lot are dog free zones in the summer months). And try out the local produce, from delicious local milk and ice cream (Taw River Dairy) to excellent sparkling wine (Swanaford), it is all so delicious.