What’s unique about your glaze finishes?
We started everything with a satin glaze. To be honest, the first several iterations looked great, but were not so durable. It took us some time, but one of the things you discover when spending time with this medium is that good ceramics is about good chemistry. There are many kinds of matte or satin glazes, but many on the market are not “true” matte—they’re just under-fired glazes that perform poorly when it comes to durability.
Thankfully, we have partners in our business that are ceramic material scientists who help us make sure our chemistry is on point. All our wares survive commercial kitchens and industrial dishwashers daily, so surviving your at-home dishwasher and microwave is no sweat!
What goes into making the molds for your ceramics?
It depends on the mold! Currently, all of our pieces are made through either a slip-casting or pressing method, both of which involve molds. Creating a new mold begins with ideation: typically we go from drawings, to hand-built or wheel-thrown prototypes, and then we like to see the design fully glazed and fired before moving onto full production. Once we lock in a design, we will take it to a 3D model to really tighten up dimensions and curves. After the model is approved, we have a high-res print made and we mold off of that!
Plaster molds can take days or weeks to produce, depending on the complexity, but once the mold is finished we test it out. If we like the results, we will produce a master mold (usually out of urethane rubber), that way we can make multiple molds for increased production. It’s really a process with a lot of steps—making molds in-house is something we pride ourselves on as it is a highly technical process.
How has life in Philadelphia influenced you creatively?
We are from Philadelphia, specifically the Kensington neighborhood. I think more than anything we’re most inspired by the resilience and innovation. Philly has changed a lot in the past several decades, but it’s always been a working-class city with deep roots in manufacturing and industry.
Globalization brought a lot of benefits to people here, but the advent of big-box stores and the race to cut labor costs by exporting jobs to developing nations rocked this manufacturing neighborhood in a way that is clearly evident today. Shuttered storefronts and the opioid crisis are still commonplace here, but hidden within a seemingly bleak facade you can find incredible artists, designers and makers building tiny empires and slowly changing our city. It’s an exciting time to be here.