Ten Mother’s Day gifts from Staffordshire makers you can buy at The Potteries Centre

Mother’s Day is a little over two weeks away (March 19) and if you’re looking for a beautiful, locally sourced Staffordshire gift but are worried it may not arrive in time if you order online – fear not! 

This month at The Potteries Centre, in Hanley, their Pop Up Shop – opposite H&M – has been taken over by Keep It Local, and is home to over 30 independent Staffordshire businesses and their stunning products.

Until Sunday, March 26, shoppers can find around 35 local creatives all under one roof, which means you can find the perfect gift for mum, nan, aunties or whoever you’re looking to share the love with.

From candles and bath soaks, to cards and ceramics, it really is a one-stop shop for Mothering Sunday, Easter or any upcoming birthdays – a month-long makers market where you can find the ultimate present.

Keep It Local was launched in 2021 by husband and wife duo Andy and Laura as an Instagram page to share all things Staffordshire. But this year, Andy quit his day job to commit to the project full time. He said: “It’s always been there – the love of shopping local, from craft fairs, to indoor markets, local bars, restaurants and farm shops there is something quite magical about the whole experience.

“My wife and I were entering a new phase in our lives, having spent the previous 20 years raising a family, our children were grown up and we had time that we never had before. Sharing our experiences and purchases became a real passion, almost an obsession.

“We got to meet so many wonderful local business owners particularly local creative businesses and we knew then that we wanted to do all we could to make a difference, to help drive their businesses forward and to offer our time and support in creating new opportunities.

“At the start of 2023 I gave up my day job and committed everything, for the love of small businesses, Keep It Local became a fully-fledged small local business of its very own and what a privilege it is for me to focus my energy on sourcing as many opportunities as possible to help so many local creative businesses.”

I headed in store this week and have pulled together a Staffordshire independent Mother’s Day gift guide where every single item is under £15. In fact, this entire lot would cost around £80, so you could even go in and make a pick and mix hamper.

Here are some of my top local picks for Mother’s Day 2023:

Rae Downey Ceramics 

Rae Downey makes beautiful wheel-thrown and handcrafted ceramics from her Spode-based studio, and these gorgeous thrown mugs are the ultimate gift for that mum, or mother figure, who’s forever flicking the kettle on, and knows a cup of tea can fix anything. 

I went for this earthy green shade, but there are also some blue and lilac versions in the pop-up shop, too, each priced at £15. 

The glaze on these is wonderful, with a speckled effect that reminds me of Cadbury Mini Eggs, meaning you could gift one with a pack of the chocolate treats for Easter (April 9), too.

They’re super tactile and have a really nice weight to them and sorry, Mum, I’m keeping this one for my chai lattes.

Rae, aged 24, graduated with a B.A in Fine Art in 2020. It was in her second year of the course that she decided that she wanted to work with clay full-time, and launched her ceramics business in 2021. The pop up shop also features her best-selling kilns which work as little tealight or incense holders.

Amber Lion Ceramics 

If your mum is a green fingered Goddess, houseplant hoarder or just likes the idea of propagating seeds and forgetting about them, then Amber Lion Ceramics have some cute ceramic plant labels in an array of colours, each with a hand stamped message.

While some say ‘Best Mum’, others say ‘I love you’ or ‘water me’, and they’d be cute to gift with a pack of seeds or a new potted plant. The ceramic plant tags cost £7.50 each, but there are also tealight holders and plant pots which are decorated with hand cut blooms, too.

Amber creates all of her ceramic products from her home garage studio in Stoke-on-Trent.

She said: “I started Amber Lion Ceramics because I love having beautiful hand made objects in my house and buying locally crafted gifts for my Mum, Aunty and grandma! I set out with the aim of wanting to make products that could be easily gifted and wouldn’t break the bank so I developed my range of ditsy candle holders and small plant pots.”

The potter studied ceramics at university, and bought a kiln in 2019, using it to create bright and bold designs inspired by vintage pottery and 60s floral designs. 

Bowers Bits and Bobs 

You might remember Bowers Bits and Bobs from my Christmas gift guide, and I couldn’t resist their little decision coin as a gift to my mum this Mother’s Day. The £5 rustic wooden coin is engraved on both sides, the head reading ‘your turn’ and tails reading ‘my turn’, depicting a cup of tea.

It really made me giggle since there’s always a debate in our house over who’s making the next brew going back and forth with ‘well, I cooked tea’, ‘yeah, I did dishes’, ‘but I fed the dogs’ and so on until someone is so desperate for caffeine they go and stick the kettle on. This is going to save us all (tea) bags of time.

Bowers Bits and Bobs was launched by couple Aaron and Lyndsey during lockdown 2020. The duo began making Christmas tree hangers as a distraction following a miscarriage – and it turns out they were better at it than they’d expected to be!

Working around their full time jobs, for the pop-up shop alone the pair completed 375 engravings on 285 sustainable products, including pocket hugs, baking spoons, keyrings and log slices that make for some proper Stokie wall art.

Abi Through The Ears 

Established 3 years ago, Abi Through The Ears originally started when lockdown hit and Abi wanted something to do to help her mental health. She borrowed her mum’s sewing machine, and hasn’t stopped stitching since!

In my Valentine’s Day guide, I featured one of Abi’s stunning satin scrunchies – and there’s a whole wall to choose from at the Potteries Pop Up, but this time, I’ve picked up one of her wall hangers.

Priced at £10, the Born & Bred in Stoke-on-Trent Wall Hanger is a canvas banner that makes the ultimate addition to any room – whether it be bedroom, nursery or living room. A lovely neutral shade of linen canvas with black vinyl lettering, the wall flag is lightweight, and the font choice feels so right. 

Anyone born in the six towns would love this little home decor piece, and it really does slot in seamlessly wherever you put it.

Peach and Mimi 

Based in the Staffordshire Moorlands, Peach and Mimi launched their Etsy shop three years ago and now stock a range of pints, prints, bookmarks and other stationery items in bright, colourful designs, often inspired by popular culture.

I picked up this Ay Up Duck pin badge for £6 in the shop, ideal for those who have a love of our city, or those longing for memories of home.

The pin badge was an exclusive collaboration between Peach and Mimi, and Keep It Local, so what’s left in the pop up shop is ALL that’s left. You’ll have to be quick to get your hands on one. 

The pin is made with gold metal and enamel depicting some bottle kilns, an oatcake shop and the canal with a little narrowboat..’Ay up Duck’ is printed along the bottom to mark Potteries dialect.

With a double pin fastening for added security, the pin really does seem to sum up Stoke-on-Trent on something barely bigger than a £2 coin.

Rock That Scent 

My mum is obsessed with candles. Big ones, small ones, triple wick ones, crackle ones – she’s got an entire box filled with back up candles and I swear she can’t pop to the shops without bringing back a new home fragrance.

Rock That Scent, based in Newcastle with a studio space in Longton, are stocking Potteries Pop Up with a range of soy wax candles and melts that will leave your home smelling gorgeous. 

I picked up the Fresh Linen candle for £15, which smells of freshly laundered clothes, with notes of white blossoms, lime zest, peach and lavender. With a burn time of up to 35 hours, it’s prime for freshening up a room in preparation for visitors.

The candles are all hand poured into amber jars with sleek black lids and beautifully designed labels which go with every house style. Fireplace, bookshelf or bedside table, these candles look and smell fantastic no matter where they are.

The business launched in 2020 by Emma, who designs everything herself. She has a strong ethical commitment, working with high-quality sustainable ingredients, and for every order a tree gets planted, too – how sweet!

Cushy Paws 

Cushy Paws started purely creating pet portrait cushions, and Grace’s commissions using cut fabric are absolutely breathtaking. Over the years, the textiles creative has broadened her business to offer a number of collections from Christmas decorations to prints. 

For Mother’s Day she’s pulled together some beautiful floral designs you can gift individually, or create a whole faux bouquet.

All made from recycled and repurposed fabrics, Cushy Paws’ blooms come in daisy, sunflower, poppy, tulip or daffodil designs, each one completely unique with different textures and layers, just like a real flower.

Priced at £8 each, I opted for the daisy design, which has ‘mum’ written on a banner underneath. This could be added to a bouquet as a special keepsake, or even used as a bookmark if your mum loves to read. 

Grace launched Cushy Paws as a Textiles intern as a way to make money while studying and has since earned herself a string of awards, including NewDesigners 2016 winner, SBS winner 2020 and Young Trader winner 2022.

Wriggly Tin Soap Company 

Sustainable bath and body brand Wriggly Tin Soap, based in Leek, are stocking their natural soaps, skincare and bath products in the Potteries Pop Up and prices start from just £3.

These little tubes of bath soaks are one of the most affordable products in the shop, and are the perfect pick-me-up or wind-me-down for busy mums. The bath soaks are handcrafted by the WTSC team, made with pure mineral-rich salts, botanicals, nourishing oils and essential oils.

Each tube contains enough bath soak to transform your tub into a spa-like experience – paired with a Rock That Scent candle, you’ve got a gorgeously soothing bathtime. 

I chose the Happy Soak, but there’s also Muscle, Sleepy, Uplift and Restore versions to pick from. Happy contains himalayan sea salt, geranium and grapefruit, using dead sea salt, olive oil and real dried blooms for a treat of a soak.

Ivy And Ginger

If your mum is never seen without a pair of cool earrings, then check out Ivy & Ginger – a fabulous small business run by Staffordshire designer Nicky Forrester. Nicky’s Staffordshire University degree is in 3D Crafts, where she combined wood and silverwork to create fine jewellery pieces inspired by everyday trends, using it to generate dozens of bright, planet friendly jewellery desisgns.

Colour and pattern plays a massive part in Ivy & Ginger designs, with creative and vibrant art carefully handpainted onto mini studs, dangling earrings, and every size in between.

At the Potteries Pop Up, Ivy & Ginger are selling several pairs of their best-selling wooden earrings in an array of colours and designs. I love this trio of tectured mini studs for £8, which offer three mix and match styles with metallic detailing. Nicky’s earrings are 10mm in size, with silver surgical stainless steel posts and butterfly fastenings.

Each pair are hand painted by Nicky, finished off with a sealant process has been updated to eradicate the need for varnish so the products are even more eco-friendly.  This also gives the jewellery a ‘naked’ feel while maintaining sealed, protected and UV resistant.

Right Hand House 

And your Mother’s Day hamper wouldn’t be complete without a card, so Right Hand House have got you covered with some funky illustrated cards inspired by nature.

Crisp, green and beautifully detailed, this houseplant card would be a match made in heaven with the Amber Lion Ceramics plant tag.

Danielle, the woman behind Right Hand House, said: “These new botanical Mother’s Day cards have everything I would look for in a card and are certainly the perfect love note bearers for your mums, ma’s, mother figures, stepmums, like a mum, the list goes on.. and if they’re a plant lover too then it’s a win!”

The original designs are created using watercolour and fine liner pen, which are then scanned in, edited and sent off for printing. Priced at £3 each, the A6 cards are printed onto 350gsm recycled card stock which offers a lovely velvety texture, and has been left blank inside, so you can pen your own message.

The Keep It Local Potteries Pop Up will be at The Potteries Centre on the Upper Mall next to Clinton’s and opposite H&M until Sunday, March 26.

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