When I was asked to design something for Heinen Delfts Blue, there were no problems to speak of. As a result of their father’s hobby that had got a little out of hand, they had started making traditional Delft Blue pottery in a time that most of the Delft Blue factories had long since closed their doors. There must be a law of stimulating backwardness or something. Delft Blue is made by hand in the Netherlands and part of the collection, particularly the ‘designed’ products, are made in Asia. Heinen primarily sells from her own shops to Asian tourists. So, things aren’t going too well right now. Manufacturing in Asia is no fun at the moment and there are no Asian tourists coming to Europe.
The first time we met, I saw a presentation that they had made especially for the designer’s collection, as they are making a special collection with designers. Research into traditional Dutch ceramics and textile was part of the presentation. The research project was not only almost a product in its own right, but also very inspiring.
I took the ‘Workumer pottery’ as starting point. This is that brown pottery, decorated with yellowish bumps of glaze. I liked the idea of making a kind of ‘simple-mealtime-tableware’ series. Tableware that seems to have come from a late medieval painting, but then ‘designed’.
The first models were already made when the corona hell broke loose. So, now we have made a set of prototypes in the Netherlands, but these are not easy to produce here for a reasonable price. I have set my hope on Portugal, but who knows where it will eventually come from and even if it will go into production. The prototypes are now on display in the shop. An advantage of producing in the Netherlands is that everything made entirely here can also be put on display.
When Jorrit (owner of Heinen) visited our ceramics workshop and saw the facet bowls and vases, he decided to paint them Delft Blue by hand, resulting in a new Delft Blue design! Both the bowls and the vases and the hand painting are extremely labour intensive, the opposite of what you would expect in a 100% Dutch product!
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