The problem was: how to square the circle? I wanted to offer more colourways, but couldn't keep enough multiples of each form in stock in the colours I already did...
After a half hour of daydreaming on the swings at the park the answer hit me. Seasonal colours!
In Japanese cuisine it is traditional to use different types of pot to serve the foods of each season, warm earthy terracotta in winter, light airy bamboo in summer. I'm not ready to change materials just yet but I like the idea of introducing specific colours to highlight or complement each season. It solved the logistical problem of colour management, but more importantly it also connects with my interest in gardening, nature and seasonal food, bringing that natural rhythm of seasonality into my work.
Last autumn I introduced a new rust colour.
The dark crystalline green I have been using for some time seemed a good fit for winter with all those evergreens and festive spangle.
That leaves spring and summer. I have some ideas for the colours I want, but in ceramics finding a new colour is not at all like choosing, or even mixing your own paint.
Each glaze recipe is made up of 3-6 ingredients to for the body of the glaze, including some form of silica and a flux. The ingredients are all natural minerals so each batch is slightly different, and when mixed together and heated to the extreme temperatures I use it becomes more akin to magic! The ingredients all react to each other, but also to the make up of my clay and to the heatwork of the specific kiln I use. I tend to use published recipes to shorten the glaze development process, but even so, every new colour desired means a lot of testing testing testing!
Having selected a shortlist of likely sounding recipes it's on with the barrier cream & the respirator - because some of those raw ingredients are not at all good for a body. The each one is carefully measured, down to a tenth of a gramme. Then each batch is mixed and sieved, and then finally applied to a test tile or pot which can go into the next firing cycle.
As you can see, unfired glaze is dry and dusty and the colours are nothing like the finished article - nothing is revealed until the kiln has done it's work.
These will be fired as soon as I can get them into the kiln, so I'll let you know if any of the results are good enough to become next season's colour!