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Matthew Rice

Matthew Rice is a designer, painter and architectural writer. He attended Chelsea and Central Schools of Art and set up furniture design company David Linley Furniture with his old school friend, David Linley.

In 1987 Matthew met Emma, founder of Emma Bridgewater Pottery, at the trade fair Top Drawer where she was selling her pottery and he, his range of decorated stationery.

After marrying Emma, he left David Linley Furniture to found his own company, Rice-Paper, in 1989. A year later Matthew began to work alongside Emma and is currently Managing Director, overseeing the day to day running of the company here in Stoke-on-Trent.

Together with Emma, he develops the designs that fuel the success and growth of the business including ranges reflecting his passions from birds, dogs and animals to the well-known Black Toast line. In the last ten years Emma Bridgewater has become the fifth biggest employer of potters in Staffordshire. Emma, also an Honorary Graduate of Staffordshire University, and Matthew are totally committed to making and decorating here in Stoke-on-Trent and playing their part in the local business community.

Matthew’s fifth published book on architecture, The Lost City of Stoke-on-Trent is, in his words, “a love song and lament for Stoke”, and features beautiful architectural watercolours depicting bottle kilns and potbanks, terraces and mansions, alongside a narrative of the place, and is a fanfare for one of the greatest cities in the first Industrial Revolution.

The award of Honorary Doctor of the Arts is bestowed upon Matthew in recognition of his career as a painter, author and partner in Emma Bridgewater Pottery.  More specifically, it recognises how, since the business was established, he has immersed himself in rediscovering the lost City of Stoke-on-Trent.  It also recognises the inspirational role he plays in encouraging Staffordshire Graduates to use the City as a springboard for their own careers; and the driving role that designers, film-makers, sculptors, fine artists and ceramicists have to play in the region’s economy as the “storm troopers of regeneration”.

Photo of Matthew Rice

Matthew Rice was bestowed the award in 2014

I first made contact in 1988, visiting Surface Pattern Design. In the intervening 25 years I have watched the development from Polytechnic to successful and growing University. It is the great feather in Stoke-on-Trent’s cap as well as a hugely significant economic driver in the City. I am a great enthusiast and its committed supporter and I couldn’t be more touched to be recognised with this award.

Matthew Rice