This original Irish craft story begins 55 years ago when Nick Mosse, the son of a flour merchant, was captivated by the sensuous beauty of clay and its possibilities at the young age of seven.
Honing his craft for many years under the stewardship of talented potters in Harrow, England, Nick developed a genuine passion for clay, devoted to shaping pieces that felt beautiful.
He met, married and fell in love with an American Botanical artist, who had been drawn to Ireland by her love of the Irish countryside and the beauty of the Burren, Co. Clare.
Drawn together by their craft and their shared love of nature, in 1976, Nick and Susan, based in a small shed on the Mosse family land in Bennettsbridge, Co. Kilkenny, formed their family business Nicholas Mosse Pottery. Three decades on, their business and their passions have endured.
“Our purpose and our passion is making beautiful tableware that gets used every day. Tableware that looks beautiful, feels good in your hands, and is tough enough for everyday use,” Nick and Susan told IrishCentral.
“To us, Nicholas Mosse is more than just a business - it’s a love affair. We pour unending love and care into all that we make. We believe this creates unique and usable tableware that emanates the love we put into it, so that it enhances the joy of serving and sharing food.”
They also believe that Nicholas Mosse helps “add ‘a little something’ to every occasion whether it’s a quiet cup of tea, a family meal or special family gathering. We believe this is why our pottery means so much to the people that use it.”
Nick and his team, still to this day, make every single piece of pottery we produce by hand.
They apply patterns using an age old tradition dating back to the 18th century. Using cut sponges, they individually sponge dab the patterns onto each piece of pottery. Every piece of Nicholas Mosse pottery undergoes a 20 step, handmade process and Nick personally trains every individual decorator that works at Nicholas Mosse.
Susan Mosse, the artist, is the creative force behind each original and distinctive pattern. A botanical artist. she takes inspiration from the hedgerows and wildflowers that surround her in the stunning countryside of Bennettsbridge and from her now famous Kilfane garden, which is open to the public.
Producing just one new pattern a year, Susan works in the peace and tranquility of her studio in Bennettsbridge. Pouring copious amounts of love and care into each design, she develops and works up her patterns using sketches.
Once a pattern is developed, Nick and his team adapt it to over 60 shapes. Early designs are put into the seconds shop and tested on customers. People use notepads to leave their response to test designs. They listen and sometimes designs don’t make the cut. New ranges are typically launched early in the year.
The pottery is made – from concept to execution – in an old mill Nick and Susan restored.
“We know we are privileged to live and work in a place as beautiful and natural as Bennettsbridge, County Kilkenny, Ireland,” they said. “We love the old mill where we work.”
Nick and Susan purchased the Mosse family mill, steeped in history, and lovingly restored its hydro electrical power to fire the pottery. Despite it burning to the ground in 1985, Susan and Nick determinedly restored it to its former glory and it continues to be the hub and engine of Nicolas Mosse pottery.
To learn more about Nicholas Mosse Pottery, visit www.nicholasmosse.com