Creating the perfect ceramic glaze is a blend of art and science. Heat, material, and oven-type all play a role in how the color of a ceramic piece turns out. For East Fork, a ceramics studio based in the mountains outside Asheville, North Carolina, tweaking its process has led to an expanded line of glazes, just in time for spring.
For its latest collection, the company is introducing two new glazes: Utah, a warm terra cotta hue, and Taro, an earthy lilac. This duo marks the launch of the company’s seasonal glazes, which will be released twice a year.
Previously, East Fork was known for its more traditional neutrals—dusty browns, soft greens, and an off white—which was a result of firing the ceramics in a wood kiln.
“In the wood kiln, our palette was limited to browns and dark greens. We relied on wood ash from the kiln and busy, ornate ‘slip-trailing’ to decorate the surface of our pots,” explains co-founder Alex Matisse, the great-grandson of renowned French artist Henri Matisse. “Switching from wood to gas firing has allowed us to experiment with color and fire our pieces with more accuracy and consistency and at a much faster pace. It’s like going from a conestoga wagon to a Tesla.”
East Fork says its glaze chemists spend anywhere from four to six months formulating new glazings. That’s how they achieve the elusive blend of earthy matteness and vibrancy.