Nothing is more quintessentially English than a good old fashioned afternoon tea - a custom said to be introduced by the wife of the 7th Duke of Bedford and kept very much alive by upmarket hotels throughout the country. Depending on where one enjoys this gastronomic tradition, the crockery can sometimes be as eye catching as the treats served upon them. And, If you’re lucky enough to be served your cucumber sanga on a ‘Melody Rose’ then you'll certainly be in for a treat, regardless of what's on the menu.
MTFS recently caught up with Melanie Roseveare, the genius behind the Melody Rose brand. Here’s what she had to say:
What first inspired you to work with vintage china as opposed to other materials?
I have always had a passion for vintage and antique china. When I began experimenting with 'printing' onto ceramics I decided to try out ideas on my collection of ceramics. I love the way a piece can be completely transformed with just a small intervention.
What is your favourite Melody Rose piece?
It might sound mad but I often find it incredibly difficult to part with pieces and have been known to hide things away rather than chance them being bought by someone. My current favourite pieces are the teapots with the 'Models' design on them.
Which designers and artists do you draw your inspiration from?
I love Grayson Perry's work. I was very inspired by his Turner Prize winner show, which spurred me onto to learning everything I could about 'printing' onto ceramics. Vivienne Westwood is a favourite designer of mine. Her clothes have a wonderful drama to them.
Does your upcycling extend to your home furnishings?
Yes, I love upcycling! My favourite piece of furniture is a huge old wooden post office cubby hole that takes up the wall space in our living room and is filled with books, ceramics, music and wine.
What's the most unusual commission you’ve had?
I recently made a series of plates which were to be smashed in a film called 'Swandown'. They will be on display as part of an exhibition which will preview at the same time as the film.
Would you consider extending the Melody Rose range to textiles?
I love the idea of designing a small wallpaper collection and I would definitely consider a range of textiles.
Birds feature highly in your designs - are you a bird lover/ watcher?
I do like birds. My birds, though, were first inspired by the view from my studio that I moved into last winter. It looks over a series of very large and woody gardens, whose owners had feeders out. In the snow, I watched a huge range of birds come for their dinner including 16 parakeets at one point.
Which Independent London shops do you rely on?
I do most of my shopping in and around Portobello Market, where I have a stall on Fridays. It's been my favourite place in London since moving here from Canada over 15 years ago. I love looking for vintage clothes and handbags there.
If the Queen popped in for tea which ‘Melody Rose’ would you serve her cuppa in?
I think the upcycled gold skull design teacup and saucer is fit for the queen!