Assynt, in the north west Highlands, is famous geologically, and the North West Highland Geopark is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rocks in the area were thought to be the oldest in the world, until fairly recently when older rocks were discovered in Siberia.
We have tested hundreds of local rocks with extremely interesting results. We have involved the oriental glaze expert Nigel Wood in the project and he has told us that some of the qualities we have achieved are, in his experience, unique.
Being a working pottery, we have to earn our living from what we make, and have developed some glazes into limited production. The potter Fergus Stewart, who works with us, has been central to the project.
Fergus and David have been taking a practical approach to developing glazes, if it is too refractory – flux it, if it settles too quickly and doesn’t apply – put clay in it. A process similar to cooking which Nigel is entirely comfortable with. We have developed some unique qualities this way, but perhaps some of the most remarkable have been working with the pure materials with no additions and trying various ways of making them work.
We have two quarries in the area, each of which has given us two different materials in bulk. The Ledmore marble quarry has the very refractory and difficult marble, but also has a dark Quartz which gives a stunning gold crystal on cooling. At present we don’t know why, as crystals are supposed to form on very slow cooling and we cool exceptionally quickly. Glad no one told the rock that!
The picture to the right shows a piece of real Scottish Gold on one of our Ledmore plates, the similarity between the colour of the glaze and the actual rock is remarkable.
We have recently completed two bespoke orders for restaurants, both in Orkney, using Ullapool Limestone in Surf (shown below left) and Lewissian Gneiss (below right).