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In time for Summer dinner parties outdoors and lunches by the pool, we've launched a new collection of hand dip dyed European linen tablecloths that will glisten in the sun.  With their barely there, ombré edges in soothing shades of blue, green or pink, they have a light, effortless quality to them.

To celebrate the launch, we've collaborated with brilliant ceramic artist Amy Jayne Hughes, to create a collection of custom bone china vases to complement our Fade series, echoing the colours and the handmade feel of this collection. Amy's work has fascinated us for a long time and we're proud to call her a collaborator.

Below, we present our new Fade tablecloth collection, and a conversation with the wonderful Amy Jayne Hughes on what inspires her and how she came to design her exclusive collection of vases for S&B.  

One of the things we love most about this collection is the patently clear signs of its handmade nature.  No two tablecloths are exactly alike as each is carefully dipped in a pool of ink to create its particular coloured wash along the edges.

 Fade Linen Tablecloth in Green - £195
featuring Amy Jayne Hughes' 'Table Vase' - £360



Fade Linen Tablecloth in Turquoise - £195
featuring Amy Jayne Hughes' 'Table Vase' - £360 

 [Interview with Amy Jayne Hughes]

Amy Hughes is a talented, young British artist whose work has been exhibited everywhere from the V&A (where she was recently an artist in residence) to the British Ceramics Biennial. We first discovered Amy's work when Bernadette's family were looking for a ceramicist to design a beautiful urn, and they fell in love with Amy's work. We were excited to work with her again on this collaboration and think she couldn't have captured its essence more beautifully.
[Amy's sketches for our collaboration]
What led you to become a ceramic artist?

A love for art and materials and the desire to make things, with some inspiring tutors along the way.
Where do you go to for inspiration?

I love to look around exhibitions, museums and at books but it could really be anywhere and everywhere. From things in nature—I love long distance running especially around my home in Yorkshire. I love travelling too, so often it's things I see on my trips: colours and textures, etc. London itself is an endless source.
Where/when do you find that the best ideas come to you? 

I do find artist studios and workshops inspiring places and being around like-minded people. My best ones usually come when I am in my own studio, Manifold in East London which I share with my classmates from the RCA. Probably because we can all talk through ideas together and advise each other as friends and as fellow practitioners. You never quite know when though: I think as a visual person you store a lot of thoughts of things you would like to try and explore in your head, often for years and then it’s just when the time is right to do them. 
[Works from Amy's 'Forget Me Not' and 'Trésor Découvert' series]

A lot of your work references super decadent, romantic periods in decorative history.  Can you tell us about this interest and how it has influenced your work?

It originally came whilst studying my MA in Ceramics at the Royal College of Art and an external project that I worked on with Waddesdon Manor. Whilst visiting the Rothschild property I was intrigued by the Baron’s collection of Sevres Vases. They captivated my attention, holding it in equal amounts of both fascination and repulsion, so began several series of works trying to deconstruct them and refigure them exploring form and decoration. I love the history of the vase through history the ages, its prestige, the grandeur, how it was even a status symbol.
What’s was your creative process and inspiration for designing this collection for Summerill & Bishop?

The team at Summerill & Bishop are a delight to work with, very enthusiastic and with a great eye for decoration and styling. Having known the store previously, I knew what type of things they sold and that my work would fit their ethos.  I'm really pleased to make something exclusively for them.
I love to combine the traditional with a contemporary twist in my work. The new Fade Collection linens provided a point of inspiration and the idea of table dressing and colour use, how my ceramic ideals could be translated into objects for the domestic interior. I knew the form I wished to work with, based on an ancient Greek Krater Vase and through sketches, material and glaze tests and talks with the team, worked out the painterly splashes with which to decorate.
[In process]

You’ve designed tableware in the past – what makes a beautiful table setting in your opinion?

Things that are well considered, are true to the materials from which they are made and often quietly understated I find beautiful.
If you could have 5 – 10 people around your dinner table – who would they be? 

Ooh that’s a tough one. Family and friends excluded: Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Henri Matisse, David Hockney, John Tenniel, Quentin Blake, Josiah Wedgwood, Mary Berry, Kanye West and Warren Dunn (my foundation tutor from West Yorkshire) should make for an interesting mix!
[The collection of nine, limited-edition vases ready to be delivered to S&B]
What would you serve? 

I’m better at baking…so courses of cake perhaps! (With champagne, of course.)
What ceramics do you like to use when serving guests at home?

I have an eclectic collection, all mismatched that I save for ‘best’ when friends come round, ranging from Wedgwood to Burleigh, Denby to Tichelaar Makkum and pieces that friends have made.
[Amy Jane Hughes' 'Table Vase' - £360]

Handmade vases; slip cast fine bone china, hand decorated with under glaze colours, transparent glaze and 22 carat gold lustre.
Each piece is completely unique.

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