Mary Rose Young was born in Uxbridge UK but didn’t stay there for very long… her childhood was a restless one with her parents moving frequently from one old house to the next. By the time she arrived in Lydney at the age of 12 she was already moving into her 12th family home. To imagine her as a child watching her parents constantly painting rooms and reinventing interiors on an extremely low budget almost helps partly explain how her colourful style evolved.
Her parents had fallen in love and eloped 2 years before she was born. They had defied conventional 1950s custom and their re-marriage always had the scent of secrecy about it. This encouraged an “us against the world” atmosphere in the family home and Mary Rose grew up ready to flaunt convention and proud of her own individualism.
She soon identified Art as her favourite subject at school and went on to study at Cheltenham and then Wolverhampton Art College, electing to specialise in Ceramics. Her work there was brown and grey, slab built and contemporary. But despite it being so different to her current style she was extremely highly thought of and achieved a Class 1 Honours Degree. Her college days coincided with the Punk Rock revolution and, thrilled with the opportunity to flaunt convention and shock everybody, Mary Rose was the first to dye her hair and don jumble sale attire. She was also very attracted to the Mod Movement 2 years later and one of her Degree projects was based around scooters.
It was after college that she suddenly found the inspiration to reinvent her style. She and her partner moved into yet another old house and were immediately set the challenge of making damp old rooms with peeling wallpaper look great without spending any money. Mary Rose’s answer was colour, every wall no matter how pockmarked was smothered and she started to create pieces of pottery that were as colourful as possible to decorate the mantelpieces and window sills.
By 1982 she was taking her pieces to Bristol every weekend to sell at a street market, in 1983 she set up her first workshop. By 1987 she’d started to attract the attention of shops and in 1989 she started getting orders from American Department Stores.