Hello from Liverpool !
Hello folks and welcome to our very first Kickstarter!
We are Granby Workshop and the reason that we’re all gathered on this beautiful page is to introduce and launch our newest product range.
SPLATWARE is a range of multicoloured ceramic tableware developed by us and our buddies Assemble.
Beautiful plates and cups are made by squashing together coloured clays in a 60-tonne hydraulic press. Each one is different.
They’re being launched exclusively on Kickstarter. If we meet our target we can put them into production - giving you beautiful one-of-a-kind tableware and us the opportunity to expand and continue investing in our neighbourhood.
Who we are
Granby Workshop is a Liverpool based manufacturer of architectural ceramics, founded by Turner Prize winning design collective Assemble. The Workshop was set up as part of an effort to rebuild Granby, a Liverpool neighbourhood that was nearly made derelict by decades of poorly-planned regeneration initiatives.
A resourceful, creative group of residents started to bring the neighbourhood back to life by clearing, planting, painting, and campaigning. And in 2011 they entered into an innovative form of community land ownership to secure empty houses, and renovate them as affordable homes – bringing in Assemble to help.
The first range of products by Granby Workshop were designed for the houses being renovated: bathroom tiles, door handles and fireplaces. They reflected the care, value and creativity invested in these homes, and are now even held in the permanent collections of the V&A and the Crafts Council.
Now we want to introduce new products to help grow the workshop and expand the team. You’ll get beautiful one-of-a-kind tableware, and we’ll be able to keep producing exciting new products, and investing in Granby.
We’re beginning a foray into an exciting new manufacturing process with a pair of products: a plate and cup. This is our very first range of tableware and it’s a nod to the social side of the community that we’re in.
It’s also part of an effort to scale up our approach – one that began by researching and tracking down RAMBO, our 60 tonne RAM Press. With this new tool, we want to combine our craft mentality with more industrial processes, in order to really push the limits of what we can create.
These are plates and cups for eating and drinking together, produced in sets, with each set showing the variety of patterns produced through the SPLATWARE process.
They are playful & celebratory, perfect for special occasions but durable enough for everyday use!
SPLATWARE #1 : Cup
Suitable for hot and cold drinks. This isn’t a teacup, a mug, a goblet or a chalice. It is a cup, as simple as it comes. Just about the right size for most things you’d like to drink. It comes in one size (8oz) but many different patterns and colours. Cheers !
SPLATWARE #2 : Plate
A circular, 25cm diameter glazed ceramic plate. Suitable for all kinds of tasty meals.
The effect created by combining these multi-coloured clays is reminiscent of Agateware or Nerikomi ceramics. Like these traditional craft techniques, the patterning is not a glaze effect or transfer – the clay itself is coloured through the body, giving a unique depth of colour and finish.
The pieces are glazed and fired to vitrification temperature at 1250 celsius, meaning they are completely food, dishwasher & microwave safe. They are durable enough to be kept as family heirlooms for generations to come.
The first edition of splatware is exclusive to Kickstarter and all products will be stamped. As well as being functional objects, you could see them as affordable art pieces - perfect as a gift or a keepsake, and who knows, one day they might even be collectible.
Splatware is made using a process that captures an element of chance in the act of making, so they’re all unique. Exact colours and patterns will be something of a surprise.
How they're made
To stoneware clay, we add varying amounts of ceramic pigments. Separate pieces of the colorful clays are placed together in a mould and compressed with 60 tonnes of pressure. This mixes and bonds the different colours together and forces the excess moisture out of the clay.
The pieces are stamped, de-moulded, dried, carefully trimmed and cleaned before their first kiln firing to 1000 degrees. They’re then sanded, glazed and re-fired to 1250 to reach full hardness. It’s a blend of precision craft and backyard science that has taken a great deal of trial and error to perfect.
Why do these products matter?
Ceramics has been integral to the development of our cultures. From tools for cooking and eating to the production of durable building materials, its history interweaves the functioning of our daily lives with the development of industry.
The potters wheel was one of the first man-made machines, and in the 18th & 19th Century, ceramics became one of the first highly industrialized processes. In Stoke on Trent, Wedgewood and others pioneered factory-line models of production, based around singular, highly repetitive tasks. Speed, repetition and consistency. Every product produced exactly the same. This is more or less how most mass-produced ceramics are still made, except that with the globalization of manufacturing it largely happens in other parts of the world.
We’re interested in a different model of production, one in which chance and creativity are introduced to the production line, so that products remain enjoyable and challenging to make, and the outcomes are always different. We also believe that our business should be community-orientated - about developing and sharing skills and facilities in our neighbourhood.
Importantly, this model is not just about how things work behind the scenes – it’s about creating products which have a diversity and beauty which isn’t possible using conventional manufacturing techniques. Every product is different.
What have we done so far?
Splatware began by researching and tracking down RAMBO, our 60 tonne RAM Press. It is no spring chicken - we bought it from a ceramics factory in Stoke-on-trent, where in a past life it was producing fine bone china sweet and biscuit trays. Weighing in at 5000kgs it’s a beast, so much so that it broke the floor of the factory that it was removed from.
Before arriving in Granby, Rambo went on a test run journey to Milan to be part of Milan Design Week where, with the support of A/D/O we first began developing the techniques that have evolved into Splatware.
Back in Granby, we extended the workshop to make room for RAMBO, and have undertaken countless tests and experiments with different clays, stains and techniques to develop a method for making SPLATWARE that retains its coherance as a set of tableware but allows for variety and experimentation in each individual piece. With our first set of moulds made we’ve produced a full batch of prototypes, allowing us to test our initial designs and run through the full production cycle. Having done this, we’ve adjusted and improved the designs to work better with the physics of the ram-pressing process and now we’re ready to get production moulds made.
Why are we on Kickstarter?
Your support will mean that we can make you beautiful products and we can continue to invest in our neighbourhood.
We’ve already invested a lot in this new process, and we need a large order to be able to go into production and to be able to sell the products at a reasonable price. We’ll be able to buy materials in bulk, commission high quality production moulds and continue to invest in the workshop to expand our capacity for the future. This will include allowing us to install a larger kiln, drying racks and most importantly, to train new staff.
We’re a creative, community-orientated business. By supporting our campaign you are helping to launch an exclusive range of products that have been developed and made in Granby.
Each set will be made to order, by us, for you and they’ll all be different. We hope they serve you well for many meals to come !
Thank you !
Granby Workshop & Assemble
We won’t compromise on quality, and since we won’t know the level of demand until the campaign ends, we’ve set realistic dates to avoid disappointment. We know some of these dates seem long, but quality comes first and we would rather surprise you with early delivery then risk not meeting your expectations.
9th September – 5th October – Kickstarter Campaign
October: Order materials, manufacture production moulds
November: Fit production moulds, Batch-mix clay with pigments. Begin production run
December: Continue production. Bisque firings.
January: Sanding, glazing & re-firing.
Feb: Packaging and shipping of orders.
Risks and challenges
Producing ceramics always has an element of risk: items can break and batches can face setbacks due to glazing errors, and machines can malfunction mid-production. We have come to realize that setbacks can happen, but having produced a full prototype batch of products from start to finish, we’re confident that we’ve ironed out the lions share of these issues. Anything that we encounter along the way, well that’s always part of the journey but we have a great team and we’re in no doubt that we’ll be able to deal with it. It’s a step up in our production methods but that’s part of the challenge and why its worthwhile.
If the campaign really takes off, some of you may have to wait a little longer for your products since we have to make each of them individually and we have a limited production capacity. We’ve tried to be conservative with our timeline and we’ll keep you fully updated along the way and promise that your unique, one-of-a-kind splatware cups and plates will be well worth the wait.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter