After we profiled Robert Gordon Australia back in February this year, I instantly warmed to the amazing Gordon family, who, aside from being super talented and passionate about their business, are also just the nicest and most generous, lovely people. I knew we had to do something together!
Robert Gordon Australia is one of the last remaining production potteries in Australia. From their factory in Melbourne’s Pakenham, the Gordon family and their staff of just over 35 people stock over 3000 independent retailers in Australia, the U.S.A, Canada, U.K and New Zealand. They also create custom tableware for some of Melbourne’s best known restaurants, including Vue de Monde, George Calombaris’ Gazi and many more. We are truly SO LUCKY to have a prolific, creative and forward thinking manufacturing business like this in Melbourne! We would all be eating on very boring plates otherwise.
Anyway, it was an absolute dream to work with Kate Gordon and her team, and to gain a first hand insight into the inner workings of this inspiring local business. Together, we created The Serene Series, a unique range of platters, plates and vases, developed over many months of meetings, emails, phone calls and problem solving! After profiling beautiful handcrafted product day in, day out, it was truly amazing to be so closely involved in the development of a product range myself… it was a dream come true, to be honest!
Kate Gordon is head of design at Robert Gordon Australia, and taught me so much about the processes and challenges of the slip casting and glazing process. The unique ‘swirl’ effect on these plates took weeks of testing to perfect – each plate is glazed by two people – one pours the colours, in lots of two, while the other expertly swirls the glaze to make the patterns.
Creating the vases was another challenge entirely! Our three large vases were developed from scratch, using brand new moulds created especially for this collaboration. ‘The vases were firstly hand thrown, then modelled, then moulded – a process which took three weeks’ explains Kate. ‘We then worked against our usual production techniques and developed a coloured casting slip’.
The incredible wave-like patterns on each vase are the result of endless experimentation and a unique glazing process. Essentially, the glaze is poured into the empty mould first, a process which requires three people working together. Kate carefully pours 3 different glazes (deep blue, a lighter blue, and clear) into the mould from the top, whilst her team rotate and rock the heavy mould from side to side on a turntable to ensure the various layers of glaze coat the inside of the mould. Next, the liquid clay is poured in, this is what will form the actual vessel. When the vase is set, the mould comes off, and the patterns are revealed. It is a miraculous process! No two casts ever come out the same.
‘Although the finished pieces are very reminiscent of forms found in nature (smoke, clouds, water, mountains) the actual concept is inspired by the process’ says Kate. ‘It is the pouring, swirling, and splashing of the slip and glaze that determine the end result’.
We are THRILLED to be able to launch our beautiful Serene Series at The Design Files Open House in Melbourne next week. We hope you love them as much as we do! Plates are priced at 33.00 (side plate), $59.00 (dinner plate) and $89.00 (platter), whilst the vases start at $155 for the smallest size and $209 for the largest. This range is exclusive, and will not be available anywhere else, ever!
For more about the amazing Gordon family and their inspiring business, please re-visit our original post here!
The Design Files Open House
(Address to be revealed soon!)
Thursday Dec 4th – Sunday Dec 7th
Open 10.00am – 5.00pm each day