New Amber Glaze Pottery, handmade by deVOL
26th June 2020A selection of some of our favourite pieces from the collection, including the new Citrus Squeezer.
Our photographer, Tim, sent us these beautiful shots of our Amber Glaze Pottery the other day and I realised we never actually shared the story of these very special new deVOL designs with you! Handmade tableware was the first thing we started producing when we set up our little ceramics studio at Cotes Mill. We’d spotted Claire’s amazing work at our local university in Loughborough, she had been making some delightfully simple stoneware pots in her final year and decided to work with our directors to develop these into our very own line of deVOL pottery, all made right here at the Mill. We bought an old kiln off eBay and set up a potter’s wheel in one of our outbuildings and soon enough Claire was busy making these pretty white and blue pots for all our customers. In 2017 the collection was even awarded ‘Best Tableware’ by House Beautiful, beating big name brands like Sainsbury’s and Rick Stein.Our original collection of deVOL pottery in soft shades of blue and cream.
It’s a tough act to follow, but last year Claire decided to start designing a brand new collection to sell alongside these special pieces. We knew it had to be different so Claire began experimenting with a rich chocolate coloured clay that fires to a dark charcoal black.
“Our Creative Director, Helen, had told me about an episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix about a Seon Buddhist monk in South Korea and we got onto the topic of fermented kimchi and how they store it in these huge ceramic jars. So I Googled them and they’re these massive dark stoneware lidded jars, I think that’s what sparked the idea of trying this black clay,” says Claire. “It seemed to be a bold choice, completely different from our rustic and countryside-style ranges but one that fitted in with some of the other products we’d made recently.”The Noodle Bowl and Rice Bowl from our new Amber Glaze collection.
She is a true expert with colour but, like most brilliant creations, these rich deep umbers and yellows and ambers were a bit of a surprise, as Claire explains…
“The glaze is just a simple off-white recipe that I developed a couple of years ago. When applied to our usual white stoneware clays, it appears an oatmeal/ivory colour, quite plain and perhaps a little underwhelming. It is only when applied to this dark clay that the glaze reacts with the manganese in the clay to create that amber/caramel hue, and a really glossy, smooth surface. The tone and finish of each piece is highly dependent on several controllable and mostly uncontrollable factors; the thickness of the glaze, the method of application, the form of the pot and how the glaze sits on it, the position of the pot in the kiln, which kiln we decide to fire in, the length of the firing, how long we hold the kiln at the top temperature, and so on. This means it is a truly unique glaze that can create many varying results, something which can be a real nuisance but also quite fascinating from a scientific and artistic point of view.”Our first handmade deVOL teapot with the most delicious caramel coloured glaze.
The collection sees the return of a few old favourites, the mug, the pouring bowl and the mini colander but also introduces some brand new designs, including our very first (and much-coveted) deVOL teapot!! Each piece is hand thrown on our wheel but the teapot proved the trickiest of all…
“Teapots are thrown in four separate parts, but immediately one after the other to ensure the clay is at the same consistency as each component begins to dry and shrink. You have the teapot body, the spout, the lid and the handle. Each individual part has to be thrown precisely and in proportion and consideration to the teapot as a whole. The following day, you have to trim off the excess clay so that it will be light to hold and it is then assembled; first the body, then the lid, next the spout and finally the handle. The teapot has to be left to dry slowly under plastic sheeting for up to a week to ensure no cracks appear, particularly around the joints at the spout and handle. Once dry, they are bisque fired, sprayed with the glaze and fired to 1245 degrees!!”Earl Grey from a beautiful handmade tea-set, what a wonderful luxury.
It took a lot of trial and error, but it was all worth it in the end and we are so happy to finally be able to add this old English staple to our collection. There were so many different sources of inspiration for this new range, but I particularly love the hints of exquisite Japanese pottery, the arched handle or the bowls with slightly narrower and taller foot rings. I was lucky enough to visit Japan last year and fell in love with… well everything, but particularly the way they design – everything is so considered, made for both beauty and function. For me, these bowls and cups and teapots have that delicate artistry, the sense of a maker who has worked hard to master their craft and get it just right.
– Take a look at the full Amber Glaze Pottery collection here.
– To place an order, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 01509 261000.