A glaze exploration

Mixing our own glazes is a big part of what we do. It's a real science and in the past we haven't necessarily been very scientific in our approach, instead adopting a more 'wait and see', experimental sensibility to our process. But I wanted to understand our glazes a little more and see if I could find a way of getting a gradated tonality to our current glaze library. Cue, mammoth blend test.

My blend test was essentially a gradual blend of ten different glazes - all of which took our base glaze that we use for our slate and gold glazes (without their oxides). The oxide additions included red iron oxide, manganese oxide, cobalt oxide, rutile, tin oxide and black iron oxide. I ended up with 52 test tiles! Actually, I didn't particularly like any of the results, BUT, the process taught me a lot about glaze exploration and I now have this useful skill in my armoury for future exploration.

 

Mathew West
some thoughts behind Brut

We've been working on some new pieces over the last couple of months and now we have a 'first edit' of a new collection to share with you. 

As a starting point our intention was to work with very simple, archetypal forms. We've been looking at the work of husband and wife photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher. Their extensive collection of photographs - or typologies - capturing industrial architecture and structures, has really informed this new collection in their pragmatism and matter-of-fact sensibility.  

We've tried to be ruthless with the design as to make sure we don't add any features to the form which aren't ergonomically necessary. For example the 'U' shape of the spout references the industrial concrete arches, but is also a very functional way of creating a spout on a vessel which pours well. 

We decided to work with a speckled clay body and two colour-ways: slate and gold. The glazes are earthy and oozing in patina and gradation (just the way we like it). (We were getting pretty excited about concrete at this point.)

Like concrete, the tones and hues of the collection are in fact quite soft and raw. Although possibly the polar-opposite to the Bechers' photographs in subject, we've also used the paintings of Hammershoi as incidentals for this range. Something about the light in those interiors, the colours and the silence - it's something I can't quite put my finger on. They're amazing paintings. It is always important to us to work with the light - how the light is absorbed or reflects off the surface of the glaze is so intriguing. 

So, this is our first edit of the collection and we're tweaking a few things, trying out some porcelain and extending the colour options.

 

 

 

Mathew WestComment
New Stockist: Labrador

Labrador is a new online store established by Pippa Cook in 2016. Pippa spends time visiting and researching makers and artists to curate a wonderful collection of goods with one main intention -  to connect people to their homes and the world around them. Labrador also presents a series of special editions by artists and designers - keep your eyes peeled for some seriously special pieces.

https://labrador.store/

Mathew West
Hole & Corner's British Craft Pavilion, London Design Week

We are excited to have been selected for the Hole & Corner curated British Craft Pavilion at The London Design Festival this September.

Launched in 2016, The British Craft Pavilion showcases 50 selected makers in a gallery space dedicated to entirely craft.

We're busy working on a new range which we hope to be showcasing during the Design Week - we'll be sharing our progress over on Instagram.

http://www.holeandcornermagazine.com/notes/britishcraftpavilion

Mathew West
New Stockist: Midgley green

We're very pleased that our pieces are included in the new Midgley Green shop in Clevedon, Somerset. Founded by Katherine Midgley and Seamus Green, the duo describe themselves as "collaborators and curators for the discerning collectors of products crafted by both maker and place".  

www.midgleygreen.com

Mathew West