Designer Trish Scorgie has brought a new lease of life to vintage ceramic designs, and in turn is helping to rejuvenate a dying industry.
After working in music industry PR for years, Trish Scorgie decided to embark on a career change that involved her passion for vintage ceramics as well as the flexibility to work around her daughter. So in March 2012 she set up her company, Volpe and Volpe, meaning fox in Italian. “I was really into Etsy and came across some lovely ideas from America” Trish explains “I felt there was a lot of the same things around at the time and I wanted to create something a bit different and unique especially with ceramics as I’ve been a hoarder over the years.” It was during her online research that Trish came across the vintage swan vase, which has become Volpe and Volpe’s signature piece. “I love the shape of the swan but it wasn’t available in very nice colours. I wanted to revamp it by producing it in contemporary colours such as matt black and metallics” says Trish.
Trish investigated the swan mould’s background as she does with every piece she sells through Volpe and Volpe. It originally belonged to Dartmouth Pottery, which was sold to Wade but they didn’t take the swan, making it perfect to reinvent. “I love tracing back the origins and what has happened to the companies and moulds that they produced. So many get lost in sales over the years and there are only a few originals left over” says Trish. She then had to find a mould maker and was keen to work with Stoke on Trent, but had difficulty in finding a supplier to do small runs. “I knew there would be a market for these nostalgia based accessories but unfortunately there are almost no UK based ceramic companies left, which is really sad” she says. Fortunately Trish found a supplier who is not only still in business but has worked on Staffordshire creamware for years. Together they work on the colours and layers of glaze: “I torture him” laughs Trish “but I am particular about how pieces look, specifically the matt black and metallic swans as they are the hardest to get right.” She also produces a cute Mole string holder that is taken from a 1970s mould and has been a great hit in its remodelled, glossy black finish with scissor-handle glasses. The Devon based company that is supplying the moles almost went out of business and the moulds are hand painted by the same woman who has been working for the company since she left school – meaning it is a true piece of UK ceramic history.
Trish currently lives in North London with her husband Michael, daughter Sissy and cat, Rosie V, and creates Volpe and Volpe’s menagerie from home. She sells online through Volpe Volpe’s site, Rockett St George and Anthroplogie and is set to launch her last swan collection in a soft powder blue before turning her attentions to her next project. “I’m working on a Wolf Plate which is a hybrid of old botanicals from forgotten dinner sets and Natural History prints with the artist Robert Dawson who works on commissions and is best known for his award winning reworking of the Wedgewood Willow Pattern (he works under the moniker of Aesthetic Sabotage) Along with the Powder Blue swan I will be also doing a super size Swan in Satin Glazes” says Trish.