SS17: Behind the Scenes

Watercolor sketches of color and design ideas.

Watercolor sketches of color and design ideas.

Beginning in early January, Inesse went to work designing and developing the new collection. This year was different than past years in that we have been working to develop a line of affordable pottery that would have our signature color and design principles. With the goal of ultimately producing lower-cost products, the design had to consider construction methods and finishing options. We chose to design slip-cast porcelain pieces that would be finished with colorful speckled glazes. 

A multitude of glaze tests.

A multitude of glaze tests.

There is always a feeling to the colors used in our collections. After a cold, grey winter in Minneapolis we're quite excited to see color spring forth outside. We try to capture this in our Spring Collection. To find the colors we like, we do a considerable amount of glaze testing. Ceramic glazes are a lot like baking recipes. Multiple ingredients are combined in different proportions to control the melt of the glaze, the glossiness or matteness, and the opacity. Various metals are used to add color to the glazes. We did well over 100 glaze tests this winter to decide which colors would ultimately make the collection.

The new products we've introduced this year are: mugs, cups, tumblers, bowls, and plates. We use mugs everyday (drinking too much coffee) and it was an long overdue product to our catalog. The mug was the first product we designed; it holds a little over 12oz of liquid and features a sturdy two-finger handle. After the mug, the other products fell in place, complementing the elegant curves and comfortable feel. 

The process of slip-casting involves making plaster molds of all the forms. At Inesse we usually throw a clay pattern on the pottery wheel and make a plaster mold directly from the thrown pattern. Slip-casting allows items to be identical in form. In addition, slip-casting creates a thin, even-thickness construction. This series of pottery is constructed of durable porcelain but features thin walls. Thin walls allow the work to dry quickly and fire quickly in the kiln–saving time and energy.

Each piece is glazed in lead-free glossy glaze. We usually line our pottery with a glossy white liner glaze. This white glaze is super easy to clean. The exterior features vibrant speckled colors; our signature aesthetic. All work is stamped with our logo in cobalt carbonate that melts and adheres to the porcelain during the firing. We had to force ourselves to limit the collection to four colorways; we were so excited by the new colors we developed. There may be periodic special edition releases on our website if we feel so compelled to produce new colors.

Stacks of finished pottery.

Stacks of finished pottery.

Behind the scenes of the photoshoot. Beautiful pours by Daniel Jaffe.

Behind the scenes of the photoshoot. Beautiful pours by Daniel Jaffe.

After the work is fired the first time: the pottery at the bisque stage.

After the work is fired the first time: the pottery at the bisque stage.

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