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Hornsea Cirrus pottery

Here’s another piece of Seventies Hornsea pottery to wonder at.  I put a photo of their beautiful Concept range (launched in 1977) up here some time ago, but the firm took that basic design and experimented with various finishes instead of the original biscuit one.  Some were a little heavy handed and the over thick glazes ruined the delicacy of the design for me, but one which I do like, perhaps because it seems slightly mad, is this Jackson Pollock inspired splatter pattern called Cirrus (I don’t know when it was launched, but certainly pre-1981.) The piece has a pale blue wash, into which the ink like blots appear all over.
Martin Hunt, a director at the firm, explained the technique to the V&A who requested examples for their collection at the time: “The decorative technique consists of an impregnation of the raw clay plate in a soluble metal salt, in this case cobalt chloride. While still moist the plate rim is splattered with wax from a spray gun and the wax in preventing the salt solution from drying causes a migration of colour to the edges of each blob. The centre of the plate is undecorated and coated with a clear glaze.”
Remarkably this was done for real too, so every single piece they ever made in the range is unique. It must have been very tricky to get just the right amount of splatter and quite skilled work.
This pattern used to be reasonably easy to find, in both the blue seen here and a pink variant, but I don’t think it was available for long and they’re a bit scarcer (and pricier) these days since the C20 retro dealers have latched onto them.

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