here’s one I made earlier :: utopia & utility

Katie | April 2, 2014

I saw Utopia & Utility‘s Stacking Vessels for the first time in Milan last year, and have since seen them at Clerkenwell Design Week and most recently at Maison et Objet in January. I decided it was high time I found out more about how these captivating objects are made.

Utility & Utopia The Stacking Vessels Making Of

Pia Wustenberg, the creative force behind Utopia and Utility says, “The Vessels began in my mind, and I made watercolours and sketches of the shapes. After this I put together a collection, decided on the materials and craftsmen that would make them. With this in mind, I made a full size drawing and sent it by post to the various makers so we can begin making the pieces. The wood and the metal/ceramic/stone/Raku is made first. For the ceramic, I work with craftsmen in Germany and the UK, the metal is made in London and the stone in Finland. The Raku is made in North Germany. The wood is made in Finland, Germany, UK, France and Austria.

“Once the top and bottom parts are made, these get shipped to the Czech Republic or the UK, depending on the collection and the size of the order – Czech is good for large scale, the UK for one-offs. Here the glass is made and fitted to the two parts. After this it all gets packed and shipped to Germany, where we clean, check, photograph and pack each piece.”

She makes it sound so simple, doesn’t she?!

Further reading for the especially geeky:

honesty box ad

Further Reading for the Especially Geeky ::

Founding Editor – Katie Treggiden

Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.

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  • Won’t the dye eventually lose its colour over time, or if left in sunlight or put in the dishwasher?

    • The higher the concentration of dye in the solution, the less colour is lost. There seems to be a point at which the moisture is fully absorbed back into the air, leaving the particles of dye in the ceramic body unable to move and so the colour/ pattern is fixed

      Sunlight doesn’t seem to affect the colour; I had a few test pieces sat on the window sill in direct sunlight with a line of tape on them to see if sunlight did anything and nothing happened. The test was conducted over the few months so am not sure about longer term exposure

      The pieces are decorative so wouldn’t need to be put in the dishwater but I did test them, one with a sealant on and one without, and there wasn’t any change – although I left some tiled pieces I made in the rain and the dye moved around again and became very vibrant

      There is lot of science behind the process, most of which I don’t fully understand and sometimes doesn’t make any sense – could talk about it for hours but I’ve tried to be concise!

  • Kuo

    this is such a cool process. did your friend emma come up with this on her own?? that’s incredible! also, i was watching the video while listening to “Goodnight, Travel Well” by the Killers, so the video was very dramatic for me haha

    • Thank you and yes – the process came from trying to dye everything, even the studio sink!

  • The technique is so pretty and natural. Thanks for sharing.

  • Fer

    Wow! I love your work. Congratulations!

  • Christine Lynn

    I like the watercolour effect on the pieces. They look very natural because they don’t look like they were painted. By using the dye to colour the pieces, is it safe to use the bowls and cups for dinnerware?

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