- Contemporary Rock Artwork on Ceramics
talks to Simon Hart about his business Rockpots. Simon is
producing contemporary rock artwork on ceramics, so you can
have mugs, teapots, plates, cups and saucers with images of
your favourite bands on them. Simon also offers other items
for sale, including a big choice of rock T-Shirts. And there's
a big range of exclusive Sandy Denny items.
A range of mugs
and teapots emblazoned with rock images
You have an impressive portfolio of bands featuring on your
ceramic mugs Simon. What was the inspiration for Rockpots?
Well I've always been a hippie, and a few years ago I took a
temporary night job at Tesco filling shelves. One of the items
I was shelf-filling was a green teapot and in my mind I
thought this would make a great Gong 'flying teapot' teapot. But
first I had to check that no-one else was making them and
then how to go about contacting someone or a company that
could make said teapot. Of course, I needed to speak to David
Allen founder of the band Gong to make sure he was happy with
all this. And, of course, he was delighted that it had taken
someone (me) just under 40-odd years to think about making a 'flying teapot'
teapot. That was the inspiration to basically put
an image on ceramics that reminds people of a golden age of
Can you tell us a little about these mugs and the other
merchandise you are offering?
The mugs are china and whilst trying to keep the industry
within the UK, the teapots are made and decorated in Stoke,
whilst the mugs are imported from the EU and are produced and
decorated in Stoke. Each teapot has a full-colour screen print
of either an album cover or part of the album cover artwork. The mugs generally have a full reproduction of either the
front or front and back of the album cover wrapped around the
mug from handle to handle. And the mug handle is generally
decorated with lettering or and album artwork image. I have
also now moved into selling T-shirts - the Sandy Denny range
are full-colour images on ethnically sourced cotton shirts and
the printing is environmentally friendly, of course. The tye dye
shirts are all imported from a company in America that I have
been dealing with since 1986.
What sort of feedback are you getting from clients and
where are they coming from?
the two or so years I have been trading both at festivals
& online the feedback has been very good. I have hit the
nail on the head with some of the designs as it reminds people
of an era past. The quality of my products are high with both
the china and the printing and this is often picked up on by
my customers. They are not getting a cheap old tatty market
stall mug that will fade in the dishwasher after half a dozen
Digger: Can you describe the relationship you have with these bands
and their managements?
very good. I would say that at present I have around an 80%
success rate. Some artists/bands are locked into deals that I'm
afraid doesn't allow and third party merchandise, but
generally what I try and do is acceptable to all concerned.
Digger: What does The Internet mean to your business?
present it is around 80-90%. I am out and about in summer at
various music festivals but overall the business comes in over
the Net or mail order. Although I am about to go nationwide
with a chain of retailers, as well as a number of local
independent shops from the south coast of England, Wales, Scotland to
Ireland. We also sell quite a lot
overseas via eBay.
Digger: What are the most enjoyable aspects of what you do?
think because I'm dealing with an era that I was a part of,
the late 60's - to late 70's early 80's produced
such fine music. Album covers were a big part of that scene,
long before miniaturisation of the covers for CD's and
downloads. A lot of people like vinyl still and, of course, the
covers all remind them of a time past. As I always say
"music is the photos the camera never took" and I
still think that's true. It gives me great pleasure to search
through the records and come up with covers I think would make
great mug designs. A business advisor once said to me " if you
are going into business for yourself would you buy your own
product?" So I guess i would!!
Digger: What are your Retro passions?
any 50's & 60's classic TV - Robin Hood, Bonanza, Rawhide,
William Tell, The Saint, Danger Man, No Hiding Place, Dixon of
Dock Green, The Avengers etc. etc. Where do I stop? - I
love films and TV and I suppose it was part of growing up in
the late 50's and 60's. I still collect all sorts of memorabilia like
Corgi/Dinky cars, Britains soldiers, Victor, Hotspur, Valiant,
Hornet annuals, Subbuteo. Where will it
end? Maybe never!!!
Digger: What are your plans for Rockpots in the future?
Simon: I have some interesting new projects lined up, including an
exclusive range of ceramics featuring the artwork of artist Paul
Whitehead - he drew the early Genesis and Van der Graaf Generator/Peter
Hamill album covers. Working with Charly
records to make a range of record label mugs e.g. Red Bird, Sun,
Charly, Vee Jay & Immediate as well as a range of jazz
and blues artist image mugs. There are ongoing discussions to
produce album cover designs for a number of progressive rock
bands such as Asia, Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Gentle Giant
& Uriah Heep to name but a few. The range is as broad as
it is long as to what is inside my head for designs. Long may it
T-Shirts by Liquid
- Contemporary Rock Artwork on Ceramics
Progress with Bands & Acts Include:
Gong, Jethro Tull, Jethro Tull Board on Facebook, Caravan,
Curved Air, Stackridge, Sandy Denny & Fotheringay
(Exclusive to Rockpots) Steeleye Span, Allman Brothers,
Grateful Dead, Pink Fairies, John Martyn, Family, 13th Floor
Elevators, Utopia, Genesis, Van Der Graaf Generator, Wishbone
Ash, Focus, Asia, Uriah Heep, Snakecharmer (ex-Whitesnake),
Larry Wallis, Planet Gong, Pretty Things, The Strawbs, Bo
Hansson (Lord Of the Rings.)
with more titles on the way during 2011 & 2012.
Darkes Lane, Potters Bar, Herts.EN6 1BW
(0) 7576 463933
eBay shop: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Rockpots-2008