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Brief Published: 31 Jul 2015

A Matter of Colour: Experimental Ceramics

Dean Brown

In collaboration with Parisian porcelain company Sèvres, Scottish designer Dean Brown’s work A Matter of Colour decoratively suspends dyes from unglazed ceramic vases to challenge viewers’ perceptions of colour application.

Inspired by classic shapes from the Sèvres archive, the plain porcelain pots are adorned with powdered pigments in blown glass canisters. The contrast between the raw white ceramic and intense pigment encourages the viewer to imagine how the form might be transformed by the colour.

A glazed tile is also presented with each display to show how the pigment would look if the dye were applied and fired. The colours serve as an interactive chart of Sèvres’s palette, which is comprised of vivid earthy tones and exotic blues.

Experimental colour application is a rising trend within surface design for product. Bath Spa University graduate Emma Buckley has developed an unusual application method for ceramics using highly soluble Procion MX dyes to create soft ombré effects. The pigment is soaked up into the earthenware designs through a sandblasted gap in the glaze on the base. This unconventional technique allows the colour to be dispersed through the clay. For more, see our 2015 round-up of International Design Graduates.

We also noted the emergence of process-driven colour at this year’s Milan Design Week. Designers are harnessing unusual techniques to derive hues, such as dissolving and burning ground pigments and applying extreme heat to material surfaces. For more inspiration, see our A/W 16-17 Colour Spectrum rationale Twilight, which explores further examples of experimental colour application and the resulting unexpected finishes.