Students design exclusive 'graduation mugs' to help future learners

Exclusive mugs designed by Staffordshire University ceramics students will go on sale at next week's graduation ceremonies to raise funds for future learners.

Stoke-based ceramics manufacturer Steelite has donated and printed 2,000 mugs with all proceeds going to the University's Development Fund, which offers student support including bursaries and scholarships.

The mugs are designed by MA Ceramic Design students Emma Rose, Caitlin Darby and Holly Kemp, who received bursaries to support their studies last year, plus course mate Mandy Billington.

Linking in with Stoke-on-Trent's bid to become the 2021 City of Culture, the students were tasked with creating unique designs to reflect the city's culture and heritage.

Development Officer Samantha Nuttall said: “We've developed a fantastic relationship with Steelite and are extremely grateful for their generous donation. Three of the ceramics students have received scholarships themselves and this project has given them the opportunity to put their time and talent back into the University.”

“The mugs are beautiful and give our graduating cohort the chance to take home a piece of the Potteries as a memento of their time at Staffs while helping future generations.”

Each design features a different decoration and is named after its creator. Emma based her pattern on the star badges given to students at graduation and Mandy's mug features line drawings of iconic Stoke-on-Trent buildings including pot banks, the train station and the University's Cadman building.

Emma said: “It's nice to know that the University values what we're doing and enabling us to produce this kind of work shows how they are willing to invest in their students.”

Mandy added: “There's so much history and culture in Stoke so it's been a really nice project to work on. I think we're all grateful for this opportunity and to see the finished mugs with our designs is just great!”

Caitlin drew inspiration from Stoke Minster for her design, using a large pixelated image of the building underneath a pattern taken from the grate on the church doors, and Holly's contemporary design is based on the University's logo.

“It's been a really good challenge to work to a live brief and we've been able to apply the skills that we have learned on the course.” Caitlin explained.

Holly added: “It's been exciting to collaborate with Steelite to make a high quality finished product. This project has shown how we can adapt our work with the help of the University.”

The mugs will be on sale at Staffordshire University's graduation ceremonies held at Trentham Gardens where 3000 students will graduate from 10 – 14 July.


Amy Platts
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