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Design Process for the Toulouse Range

When I look back to May 2020 I'm amazing that we were already a couple of months into the Covid Pandemic and we were all still hopeful that everything would be back to normal by Christmas.  I'm so grateful had my studio that I could continue working in and was able to develop this new work.  I had been thinking of a new range from 2019 and as time went on I realised that I needed something new to focus on and to be able to feel like I had something to show from the enforced down time.

Design drawings for blue pottery

These are some of my drawings that I worked on for the Toulouse Collection, they we done Jan/Feb 2020 when I was still in Toulouse.  It's a beautiful city and I used to make a flask of coffee and go sit by the River Garonne and sketch ideas.  I had an French artist stop to ask if we could draw each other's hands. Once I was sure he wasn't crazy (maybe a touch!) and wasn't going to steal my phone he explained that he hated seeing everyone always on their phones. 

When I got back to the studio in Belfast I started with throwing the shapes from my drawings on the pottery wheel, I'd try out slightly different versions and if I saw something interesting while making then I kept it for the first draft.

Next up was the glaze, I really wanted to get the colour right, these are some of the tests I did.

I narrowed it down to 2 colours and glazed a few pots in each and showed them to family and friends to get opinions as well as used them at home to get a feel for them. The lighter turquoise won the day and I really do love the colour.

I knew the next step was to test the work with customers which was a bit tricky because of the Covid restrictions so I started sharing photos's of the work on social media and then the Galway Potter's Market got the go ahead in August.  I was really nervous setting up at the market as there are some amazing potters there and I've been making the same work for 10 years and I really wanted my customers to love the new range too.

The reaction was so good and people had really positive comments about the colour, it was so bright and fresh sitting on the white tablecloth under the rare Galway sun.

The collection is expanding a little this year, I'll be adding sushi plates and the classic egg cup. Let me know if there's anything specific you'd like to see.


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