(Glaze) colours and their names

small slate and pond pourers

Small pourers in “slate” and “pond” glazes.

Our newest glaze is called “pond”. We have exercised ourselves almost as much with the name as the recipe itself, and more than we did with naming any of our children!

Ideally a colour name is an accurate reflection of the hue and also conveys an appropriate atmosphere or feeling. Whilst James and I place great value on clarity and simplicity in our work, there are certain colours which make that difficult. I have always loved “neutral” colours. My best example of a neutral colour is a television screen turned off (which I remember staring at for ages when little). The appeal of neutral colours is that they are both quiet and complex. They are easily influenced by their context and lighting and are …….difficult to name.

Farrow and Ball have embraced the fanciful with names like “elephant’s breath” and “dead salmon” presumably thinking that it matters more to be memorable than accurate. Of course colours are subject to fashion, but I suspect less so than the name used to label the colour. For example, currently “beige” is banished but “mink”, “taupe”, “stone”* etc. are plentiful.

With glazes we like the name to suit the transparency of colour, which is why “pond” won over its rival “donkey”. Slate (the material) differs from our glaze in being opaque not glassy, but we couldn’t think of another purpley grey. Our “smog” has the transparent atmospheric thing and “sap” conveys a fresh liquid transparency.

*Stone is surely the most stupid of colour names, I mean what kind of stone is it? Turquoise? But perhaps I’m being too literal – we all understand what people mean by “stone” in the way that we all understand “disabled toilet” or “sensitive toothpaste”. Beige is not OK so “stone” it is (we should know). I’m just waiting for the colour “plastic”.

One thought on “(Glaze) colours and their names”

  1. Pingback: Verdigris / Eau de Nil - james & tilla waters

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