Arran Street East have proved to be very popular products since they were introduced to our store. The wonderful attribute of these gorgeous pots is that your eye is immediately attracted to the simple and beautiful shapes and colours. Once you know the lovely story behind their shape, behind their colour choice and behind their name choice it makes them that little bit more special.
We spoke to Laura Magahy, the founder and creative director behind Arran Street East to discover a little more about their creation and their wonderful story.
When was Arran Street East launched?
"Arran Street East launched in 2014 and grew from a quest to find simple, hand-thrown stoneware in simple shapes and unusual colours. We couldn’t find it, so we designed and made our own."
You’ve given the Smithfield fruit & vegetable market a very important place in Arran Street East, why is that?
"The Victorian Fruit and Vegetable Market of Dublin, where our studio and workshop are based, is a big inspiration for us when it comes to colour and pattern, while architectural forms influence our shapes. Our identity is deeply connected to our sense of place. The A of our logo comes from the old Irish A on the Arran Street East street sign, and the pattern and colour of our market area home is a big influence on how we design and make. It’s an area of Dublin that, we believe, is worthy of more attention, and we hope that by being here, we can help to attract more people to this part of town."
Did you choose the location before the name?
"The two things happened together at a moment in time!"
A very peculiar detail about this collection is the in & out shapes, what’s the thinking process behind this design?
"We think of ourselves as architects in clay, and the tessellating shapes of our pots and mugs are a cornerstone of our identity. We also know that everyone has different preferences when it comes to how hot their tea or coffee is, our in and out shapes solve that: the out shape allows you to drink at a cooler temperature; while the in shape keeps it warmer for 20% longer."
We love the fact that these pots are all handmade to a very high standard. Can you tell us about the makers and give us an example of their process?
"We have a team of three potters in our studio, Patrick and Gayle, who concentrate on throwing, and Sheenagh who looks after glazing – all three trained at Thomastown Pottery School. Our pots are all hand thrown on a wheel in our studio in the heart of Dublin, and each takes a week to make from beginning to end.
The clay is mixed to the perfect consistency for the object being made, then cut to size for each individual pot, jug or bowl. Throwing on a wheel is a skill learned over time. We throw every piece by hand to pre-determined geometric shapes.
Left overnight, the clay becomes leatherhard. After measuring and applying each handle, this is when we stamp each pot with our signature A, inspired by the old-Irish A on the Arran Street East street sign. At this point, our Pots go through their first firing: the Biscuit firing, where the kiln gradually rises to 1000 degrees Celsius, and back down again, to take any moisture out of the clay.
The next day, when they’ve cooled, the base of the Pots are set into molten wax to get their perfect unglazed straight line. Once the base is waxed, we glaze inside and out, to give the pot its colour. We spend time developing and mixing our own glazes, in subtle shades drawn from our Markets Area home. The glaze and wax won’t mix, so we keep that nice smidgen of unglazed pot visible.
The Pots then return to the kiln for the second time, and are fired slowly at a temperature above 1250 degrees, to achieve a matte and semi-sheen finish and seal, making them safe to eat and drink from."
What makes Industry & Co a special place to stock your products?
"Industry & Co has been one of our long-term stockists, it’s a shop we love, as makers and shoppers, and are proud to be in such good company there. It has a gorgeous aesthetic that we think fits well with Arran Street East products, and has really helped to make Drury Street a more vibrant place."
Our Winter sale is still on, enjoy 10% off all Arran Street East products in store & online.