Every time I visit the Robert Gordon factory out in Pakenham, I am inspired. This family owned business is the last production pottery in Australia, and there is something so uplifting about seeing functional tableware and bakeware made and hand-glazed by passionate local workers, in a bustling factory, not far from home.
Robert Gordon are well known for the bespoke tableware they create for some of Australia’s best restaurants, and they also design and make their own extensive range of tableware and homewares. We’re particularly enamoured with their latest ‘Dyson’ and ‘Black Opal’ designs, which showcase the unique beauty of reactive glazing.
We recently chatted to head designer Kate Gordon (Robert Gordon’s daughter, and one of four siblings now at the helm of the company) about these latest pieces.
HEY Kate, can you tell us what has inspired your beautiful new Dyson Mugs?
A revival! These mugs were first designed by our Grandma, potter June Dyson, in the 60’s. Each piece is cast in our Pakenham factory and then glazed by hand.
…and the Black Opal Dinner Set?
This range is inspired by the glazes themselves. Black Opal is an experiment in layering light colours over a dark, with a reactive base.
We have seen a return to these organic style reactive glazes that our Dad and Grandma once used, back in the day. No longer is the market demanding a perfect white finish – colour and texture has made a comeback. We have raided the archives for inspiration.
These pieces are all designed and made in Australia – why is local maufacturing so important to Robert Gordon?
Our Pakenham factory is at the heart of all that we do. It is our design lab, our workshop and our inspiration. We do wear two hats – as both an importer and a manufacturer. However, we always return to the pottery as our base. We employ close to 50 local people, and keeping manufacturing alive and well in Australia is still our number one goal.
What’s next for Robert Gordon?
2017 is looking very exciting for Robert Gordon. We are updating our Factory Shop in Pakenham, including a restaurant – making it more of a complete experience. Tours of the factory will also start later in the year. We are also looking at hosting events, such as weddings, in our factory. We have just created a new website, which we are excited about. We are forever evolving, designing and creating – we never sit still for too long!
Robert Gordon have a brand new website and online store – and there is still time for a visit to their factory outlet in Pakenham before Mother’s Day!