August has arrived, and with it some mighty big changes at Feldspar HQ. July was an interesting month: baking hot dusty days, busy preparing our new collection ready for London Design Fair in September and then, an unexpected upending: we had to find a new home for our new kiln, toot sweet, or our stand at the fair would be, well, pretty much empty! Solutions needed to be found - along with a new space to work in...Also this month, Jeremy’s started filming timelapses while in the workshop. On the one hand, they’re great as they provide a glimpse into the labour intensive process of making moulds, block and case, master models and so on ready for slip-casting to commence. On the other hand, when you distill 10 hours of painstaking sanding into a 20 second video, it makes it look like a walk in the park - see Jeremy's recent weekend in the workshop here. All one minute 48 seconds of it.
AN UNEXPECTED MOVE
To launch our new fine bone china tableware collection this September at London Design Fair we needed a new (aka reliable) kiln - capable of being controlled at the (very) high temperatures necessary for firing bone china. We’ve been getting by with an old hobby kiln for the last two years and to be honest, it’s a veritable miracle that anything ever came out of it in one piece. When it came to the new kiln being wired in, however, it transpired that we weren’t able to have it on site. This conundrum set in motion a good few days of brainstorming - luckily, we found a space a mere 11 fields away (or a ten minute drive, depending on your mode of transport) - a space that is not only warm and dry but that also has a solid floor! (no more picturesque but very uneven cobbles to trip over) and, the pièce de résistance - our new kiln! It's wonderful, all round, although only a temporary fix - so if anyone knows of any empty (weatherproof) barns in deepest darkest Dartmoor with excellent electricity supply and a sink, let us know!
THE NEW COLLECTION
Bone china is notoriously temperamental - just breathing on it the wrong way can cause misshapen wares to emerge from the kiln. It has low plasticity and a very narrow firing range, suffice to say, it is incredibly unforgiving. The recipe to create it has barely changed since it was invented by Josiah Spode in the late 18th century - just three ingredients: Cornish stone, bone ash (synthetic, these days) and china clay make the highly prized, incredibly strong, bright white, almost translucent ceramic. Here at Feldspar we've always wanted to create objects 'for life' - ones that you can use everyday but that are made from the finest materials available locally - and fine bone china is just that. We are gearing up to release an entire set of NEW tableware at London Design Fair from the 20th - 23rd September (stand 10.51 in Hall 10, see more here) all handmade and hand painted in Devon.
From lidded eggcups to shallow pasta bowls, dinky cake plates to an elegant all china cake stand, a sugar bowl to a salt cellar and more besides - all in dimpled white fine bone china with cobalt and gold hand painted finishes. See sneak peeks above of objects emerging from their moulds.
SUMMER TIME SOAP
Our Kelp Soap is in its element during the summer months with a scent inspired by breezy coastal walks, hints of Sweet Fennel, Bay and Sicilian Bergamot combining with the grassy freshness of Petitgrain. The nourishing soap bar is handmade in Devon using the traditional 'cold-process' method - it is not heated to high temperatures to ensure it retains all the benefits of the 100% natural ingredients, which include French Green Clay to cleanse and Kelp to nourish the skin, leaving it cleansed and moisturised. Entirely plant based and chemical free, and suitable for the most sensitive of skin - it's a dream of a soap.
DIGGING OUR OWN CLAY, STILL
We're still working on our own clay goods, ready to launch alongside the new bone china wares. The finished, reddish brown items are coming out beautifully and offer a delightful contrast to our bone china wares. Available online NEXT WEEK! I know, I know, we said mid-July, but then the moving studio curveball hit us so it's been delayed a smidgeon. That's all for now. Off to finish off casting some dinner sets and work out how to glaze a ceramic sugar spoon...