You’ll find us in a bright and airy studio at the back of Kate Samuels’ garden in Herne Bay. Within a stone’s throw is a lovely stretch of shingle beach seaside, where family fun days in the sun inspire much of the bright and cheerful feel of our designs.
Inside the studio is an array of creative tools, paints, sketches and stencils. There’s an industrial kiln that turns over rounds of beautifully painted enamelware in swift succession. Along with drying racks, stacks of materials and boxes of orders ready for shipment.
Ours is a cottage industry that balances larger runs of popular pieces to be stocked in shops across the country, with unique commissions, limited editions and personalised pieces.
We’re all too happy to talk with you about designing something special. Unique, one-off commissions include two large enamelled panels to mark a new commemorative footbridge, illustrated plaques for public gardens, and bespoke gifts including personalised name plates.
Every item is meticulously painted and hand drawn using the Sgraffito technique. This means that no two pieces are identical. And when the kiln is powered up, we steadily fire each item to perfection, so that the special vitreous glass enamel sinks into the enamel surface.
The result is a lustrous, smooth, colourful finish. And the great thing is that because enamelware has a solid metal core, the end products are virtually indestructible. Which means our items – including plates, bowls and mugs – are not only bright and beautiful, they can be taken anywhere. They’re perfect for camping, a spot of glamping, BBQs, garden parties, kids parties or fun and relaxed dinner parties.
They’re a cheerful addition to homely homes; they’re plates and objects for life.
But where did it all begin?
Kate grew up in an artistic household where she was encouraged to pursue her creative ambitions. This led her to study enamelling at college, and continue to hone her craft by studying further for an MA. Having reached a high level of craftsmanship and academic insight into the history and application of enamelling, Kate took an appointment as a college lecturer.
From here, Kate’s practice evolved and she built a studio in which she could create objects that would have a wide-reaching appeal, as well as experiment with new ideas.
Now, with two wonderful kids, Kate is always making, doing, completing orders and finding inspiration from life. To keep up with the growing business, a small team are on hand to help out in the studio and with orders from all over the country and beyond.
Which makes Kate Samuels’ Enamel Factory a quaint little factory…
…but a delightfully industrious one, none the less.