Until recently, I’d taken my family heritage rather for granted. I grew up in rural Scotland in the 1980s, the daughter of a craftsman who was descended from a family of potters. As a child I didn't pay too much attention to our family history. Naturally, I’d heard family members and friends mention that my father, Peter Fishley Holland, was the seventh generation of a line of well known studio potters, but when I was very young, as far as I was concerned he just left the house each morning to go to work in his studio at the other end of the garden.
The first pottery was founded in North Devon by George Fishley (b 1778) around 1800. By 1865, Edwin Beer Fishley (my great great great grandfather) had taken over the running of the pottery. Earthenware was in great demand at the time and the pottery employed a dozen or so people, producing hundreds of pots every day. Edwin’s work had a major influence on early studio potters, most famously Bernard Leach. A selection of his earthenware jugs and dishes are held in the permanent collection of the V&A Museum in London.
It was only on later reading my great grandfather’s autobiography that I began to fully understand the story of my ancestors and how unique and precious our heritage is. Writing in 1957, William Fishley Holland chronicled the story of his life’s work that for him began when, aged fourteen, he went to work for his maternal Grandfather, Edwin in Fremington. These were times during which horses were driven to “pug” the clay and carry the wares to market on dirt roads. William Sr (for my Grandfather was also named William), later ran the Braunton Pottery, and it was here that Michael Cardew learnt to throw, under my great grandfather’s tutelage.
In 2012, when I left London with my family to make a home in the East Sussex countryside, my father moved with us. He'd previously had a two decade hiatus from producing. In fact, he had thought his potting days were behind him. But a few years earlier, I’d encouraged him to start again. We found a small studio space nearby and set about re-imagining his work for a modern, craft orientated audience.
We don’t have a bricks and mortar shop - until now our sales have come via word of mouth recommendations and commissions. But here you will find a small selection of carefully chosen stoneware and porcelain pieces that we feel honour the craftsmanship of those who came before us. We hope you like them, and that they may become part of your story, too.