The art of making ceramics is really quite incredible. We visit our factories twice a year (after submitting our designs months earlier) we visit in person to see our new samples and make changes or iterations. Inspiration for our designs comes from all areas, like any design based business we interpret global and domestic trends. We then put them through our lens or filter and make them our own.
It might be a wall paper design or a trend happening in the fashion or art world that has never been used on ceramics before. It could be a polka dot or multi coloured stripe that kicks off a whole range!
We wanted to show you the evolution of a product, from our recent September 2019 trip to our factories where we were lucky enough to see our next delivery during production at one of our makers. Talk about inspiring, to see designs that have come out of your head and now in the hands of artists. That's only half the story though, the real life cycle of a product is complete only once it's enjoyed in the home of the new owner.
Here is the journey of our Hellenic Bowl;
Firstly, JJ and myself explored the trend of Greece. We were seeing gorgeous snaps of the Greek Islands, white stucco and blue skies popping up everywhere. We started a Pinterest board on all things Greece. Here is a slice of it;
We then looked at traditional shapes of the era, handled vessels were the signature shape and what is more Greek than a Greek Key pattern!
We wanted to make this range a modern take on Greece vessels so we gave our makers the shape, Greek Key pattern and specified a distressed hand painted finish on a slightly wonky shape so it felt like Jones & Co.
We submitted this range in December 2018 to our makers, we then are sent images in March 2019 the following year of the finished sample.
We usually give feedback on size, shape and finish during that interim time and then more comments and tweaks are done when we visit in person in April 2019.
Once the sample is approved, they are sent to Australia! Then we photograph and style the sample, including it in our catalogue to our retailers and then the Hellenic Bowl finally goes into production! Here are some of the processes;
After the clay is worked, it is given to the thrower who then makes the shape of the pot. He uses the wires as a guide to the shape so each one is the same. This is then left to dry on racks before being fired in a wood kiln for 12 hours, seen below.
After firing, the item is glazed, some items have multiple glazes. The Hellenic Bowl has one glaze coat of white and the hand painting of the stripes, Greek Key and dots goes over the white. You can see that happening below.
This is Jerry, showing us the under glaze and how different the colour is to the finished version (he puts up with our craziness and annoying requests with aplomb, he has worked at this maker for 26 years!)
Then the pieces are loaded into the gas kiln for firing. This takes around four hours, the kiln in the shot below is only a little one for sampling, the normal kiln is a little bigger.
After this firing the items are checked over and any touch ups that need to be done where the position in the kiln has affected the colouring can be corrected slightly. A top coat is also applied to protect the surface.
Then after this process the bowls go through quality control and if they are a vase or planter, water testing. If they have handles, strength testing. Then it's onto packaging into cardboard boxes and are loaded for voyage to Australia.
Here we are modelling with our creations in the factory with the kilns in the background.
From there the bowls are dispersed to our retailers around Australia and New Zealand, our own online store and shop in Bondi Beach to then be enjoyed by the new owner. So from our minds in December 2018 to the virtual and physical store shelves in November 2019. That's why these pieces really are works of art.
*Note we asked the workers to remove their masks and protective gear for the photos, nothing is more charming than a smiling Filipino!