Hannah graduated 25 years ago in 1991 with a degree in ceramics, and set up a workshop in Bristol, in a building housing an exciting assortment of art school graduates. As she started-up in business, she began researching ways of getting exposure for her ceramics, and was asked by an old family friend if she would be interested in gathering a collective of makers, (now know as a Pop-Up!) to show in a building they were restoring in Marlborough, Wiltshire. This is a town close to Hannah's heart as it is nearby to where she grew up, and where she went to 6th form and her love of art was nutured!
And so Hannah sought-out some of her talented co-workers and they took over the whole of the ground floor of what is now the shop, taking their own back-boards so as not to damage the recently-restored walls! They put-together a stunning show of work. Some of these artists such as Susie Brooks, Anthony Theakston and Nicola Theakston, who also had studios in Bristol, are still making now, and have made quite a name for themselves.
Nicola has created stunning hare trophies for Lush Cosmetics's Lush Prize, rewarding initiatives within the world of science and lobbying toward bringing animal testing to an end.
Hare Trophies for the Lush Prize by Nocola Theakston
Anthony Theakston has built a name for himslef making his beautiful bird sculptures and jugs, recently branching-out into bronzes too.
Stealth Owl by Anthony Theakston
Susie Brooks is an illustrator and printmaker and a close friend of Hannah's since Art Foundation days in Swindon, she is well known for her work and one of her prints even made it onto the set of Bridget Jones's Baby this year!
Susie at work
St Ives 'Life's a beach' silk screen print.
The show was a real success, and helped a lot of the artists at the beginning of their careers gain recognition, and some good sales. And so, years later Hannah approached the then gift shop, housed in the same space to see if they would be interested in buying from her, and here we are with both parties celebrating this year being 25 years in business!
The Merchant's house in featured in Hannah's newsletter this month, as 'Stockist of the month' and we thought it warranted a bit of a back story to explain our long-standing connection.