Why should great design be expensive?
That’s the question posed by Kate Gordon, creative director of Robert Gordon — the Australian family business founded in 1945, and the country’s largest production pottery.
The brand produces over 300,000 local pieces of pottery every year across its Melbourne and China factories, including its latest collection designed by Brisbane artist Claire Ritchie.
The relationship between Claire and Robert Gordon started in 2022, when Kate first came across the established artist’s work.
‘We stumbled across Claire’s work at a time when we were looking for some joy, light and colour to be injected into our offering,’ Kate says. Claire’s work has a sweet honesty to it. It is colourful and yet quirky. Her designs speak the language of kindness … It’s simple, yet very appealing.’
For Claire, teaming up with the Australian brand to design her first homewares range was a no brainer. ‘They have a business built on pure passion for the craft of pottery,’ says Claire. ‘I’m honoured to be a part of their story and to showcase my work on their stunning pieces.’
Like all of Claire’s artwork, the design process began simply. She says, ‘I begin my process with minimal elements so that I can pull on my feelings and translate those into my work. For this collection, I hand drew each artwork on paper with black Posca paint markers. I then digitised the artwork and moved on to adding colour.
‘Approaching colour addition in this way allows me the time to deeply explore the connection between the shape and the emotion.’
The bright jumble of flowers and botanical shapes is balanced and playful to inspire and uplift.
Pieces in the Robert Gordon x Claire Ritchie collection are made in Robert Gordon’s China factory. The stoneware products are firstly modelled, moulded, and made — before being bisque and gloss fired. A decal is then printed and applied, and the pieces fired once more.
‘We chose a satin matte glaze for Claire’s pieces to make sure her colours were strong,’ says Kate.
The collection features four of Ritchie’s distinctive designs (Up Close, Rest Rest Relax, Balancing Flowers and Flower Heart) across the brand’s popular ceramic products: My Mug, Bowl, Pedestal Bowl, Jug, Latte mugs, and a Trinket Tray.
The range is available to shop today from Robert Gordon’s online store and stockists, with prices from $19.95.
Kate says, ‘We love that a customer can easily pick up one of our Robert Gordon X Claire Ritchie mugs, have a small piece of art, and use it every day. We aim to keep our pieces accessible.’