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Using our 5 Golden design rules

1. Research

Our studio walls & desks (who are we kidding, the floors too) are covered with torn pages of magazines, post cards, note pages of scribbles & doodles.

Our kaleidoscope of ideas and inspiration doesn't end there, we also have quiet a number of shared Pinterest boards that we like to dip into from time to time to jolt start our engines when needed. It's just heaven for amazing colour combos!

We collect boards, for colours, textures, shapes, interiors, fashion and nature.

2. Drawing

MAKA Ceramics, Ceramic Tableware Design, Irish Pottery, Drawing, Sketches, Coffee Cups

One of the great things about drawing down your ideas, is that you never have to try them out there and then, they are always there to go back to at a later stage.

So even if you aren't ready to make something new and you get that rush of inspiration, get it down on paper, you never know when you will want to use it.

Drawing is always at the beginning of our designing something new.

Sometimes we look back on some oldies and cringe or laugh!

3. Prototyping & Documenting

MAKA Ceramics, Ceramic Tableware Design, Irish Pottery, Prototypes, Coffee Cups, Dish

One of the most valuable things you can do as a maker is make prototypes.

Prototypes allow you to start exploring your idea in real life. You can be brave here and allow yourself to make those adventurous choices. If they don't work you lose nothing but what you gain is a world of information.

Our new design looked beautiful on our mug but that design didn't work on some of our other tableware like our vases and plates until we adjusted the size of the design.

Thankfully, the prototypes that we made came into action here. Some sample plates were made which we then used to try the design on in different sizes.

We also used our round wooden batts that we use to throw on, to paint the designs on to using different sized brushes, so we could see what brush gave us the desired size shapes. Simple but effective.

4. Adjustments

In our prototyping stage we like to go a bit wild and try everything from complicated patterns to more simplistic.

As you can see from the two images here, when testing out these colour combos, we loved the idea of them but the result wasn't quiet right as we like more definition & contrast between the colours - this is exactly why we only experiment on small batches, we like to make sure our ideas are getting translated properly.

After some colour mix adjustments, pairing back the design by choosing the elements that we liked, we then went on to resizing the design for our different vessel shapes.

5. Final piece

Over the last few years we have had both disasters and successes, we look back on some of our creations thinking, wow, we made that one too complicated or there were too many elements that could cause it to not result in many firsts.

The start of our ceramic tableware - Our very first batch of mugs

At the beginning, we would jump right in and make bigger batches that sometimes wouldn't turn out well, but now being older and wiser (hopefully wiser!!) we are more cautious during the design process. Both functionality and design are hugely important to us.

Check out our full range of ceramic tableware & gifts in our online pottery shop.

Just a little reminder in these crazy times, how important it is to support small Irish businesses now more than ever.

We will be buying Irish this Christmas and we hope you will be too! Check out our previous blog post for a list of some of our favorite small businesses.

We will add to the that list very soon!

Until next time,

M&K xx

P.S. make sure to follow us on Instagram to watch our daily shenanigans!

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