I first met Emma at Harrogate Trade Fair in 2016, and when we started chatting we quickly discovered that my shop and Emma’s workshop are only about ten miles away from each other – Emma lives and works at Mosney Mill, which she and her family renovated themselves. As they did so, they uncovered its rich history as a textile printing mill in the late 1700’s.
“It feels incredible to be doing what I love most at the place I love the most,” she said. “I love seeing the designs come together and to be able to show them to other people. I couldn’t be happier that the Mosney creatures that I have included in my range are adored by so many people.” – Emma Sutton.
Emma is a talented artist, and she discovered a newfound inspiration in these stunning surroundings as she began to draw animals from the gorgeous scenery around her. A variety of whimsical animals began to emerge as illustrations for her homeware range, each with a story and a special place on the family’s 11 acres of land.
Aside from her domestic animals, Emma has also developed bonds with some of the local wildlife. Many of her cherished experiences with them have served as further inspiration for her homeware range, giving her products a lovely personal touch. Emma is truly passionate about every one of them being designed and produced in Lancashire, and the majority of the process takes place locally.
During the renovations, the family uncovered Mosney’s rich history. Mosney on the banks of the River Darwen near Preston in Lancashire, was the site of a former print works, known as Mosney Print Works.
It was in operation from 1780 to 1788, and in this small space of time, Mosney Print Works made great progress in cloth printing. Thomas Bell of Mosney invented his “new and peculiar” method of printing up to six colours at a time, with copper plates, patented in 1783.
Further improvements were made to Thomas Bell’s idea, leading one John Slater – a calico printer of Mosney – to patent a press “for printing 1-2-3 or more colours on cotton” just two years later in 1785.
Historians argue this invention was just as important for the finishing of fabrics as Arkwright’s Spinning Jenny was to the manufacture of the base cloth. It paved the way towards modern day fabric printing, and Emma Sutton took this as a sign that she should bring print back to Mosney.