Developing a product idea

hanging pendant lamp prototype
1st prototype for pendant lamp

The beginning of a new product starts with a need and an idea.

A good time to develop a new product is when you spot a perceived need in the market place or see that your current product range is lacking something. Your idea is the piece that fills the need your other products don’t.

Alternatively, the need can be a creative urge. Sometimes a new idea just comes to us, in a dream for example (!) and one is compelled to create it. These ideas can be off the wall and unique, but because they have passion behind them, they can also be good ones.

What will I do with this shape?

Both are great ways to begin. In general however, it isn’t the first attempt at building a new product that results in a finished one. Once started, the idea gets formed, reformed and tweaked many times. One thing is certain though, one needs to start and if there is no need, the product will be pointless.

I have wanted to add a pendant lamp to my range for some time. I really like them, and my range of lamps lacks any. But where to start? One reason it takes me so long to get to ideas that I have simmering on the back burner is lack of time. So, to get things jump started, I often begin with old ideas. For my pendant lamps I slip cast a couple of vases and lamp bases and tried turning them upside down. In the past, I’ve sliced parts off pieces I already have and stuck them together in new ways. This is an excellent way for me to get something physical to work on.

images of hand built ceramic pendant lamps in progress in kRI kRI Studio
Modified Bubble vase becomes start for small pendant lamp

Because it’s challenging for me to work on designing 3D objects using 2D drawings, having a basic prototype to work out technical details with is indispensable. I can get a feel for proportions by adding to or subtracting from my working model and bring the form in line with my concept and aesthetic. It is also easier for me to figure out hardware issues when I have an actual object in front of me.

I get so excited when I start actualizing a new idea. I want only to work on that and nothing else. But it takes time. For me, having a work in progress present in the studio is valuable time for getting to know it. The prototype gets moved around as I juggle space for other projects. It is viewed in different lights and in relation to other things in the studio and I have the opportunity to fine tune and refine the shape. Along the way, problems or flaws can be detected and dealt with as I tend to daily production tasks. The time it takes to get things right is time well spent. Once a mold is made, there is very little that can be done to change it… that is until it becomes part of an idea for a new product!

small bubble table lamp compared with bubble vase
Bubble table lamp with bubble vase

One of the benefits of starting the way I do is that the objects in my range end up having a relationship to one another. Although I ultimately end up creating a fresh original form from scratch for my new product, most of the design development takes place in the 3D “sketches” I do using my older designs. A new “original” is essential in making the mold. The shape must be scaled up to allow for shrinking of the plaster in the mold and of the clay in the slip casting and firing stages. And this is only the beginning!

After I have created the new mold, I begin to know the new piece. By handling it, taking it out of the mold, trimming it and glazing it, I learn the personality of my product. When I really know what it’s all about, I am best able to choose the right colors for it and promote it effectively. Not surprisingly, my customers and followers give me loads of useful feedback helping me in this process. Its not always direct. No response is a response. I try to always keep listening. This is how to become aware of needs, and it’s a great way to get new ideas!

I hope you find these thoughts provoking if not helpful as you enjoy handmade objects or as you create and develop your own products. If you have any feedback, ideas or suggestions on this topic, you are most welcome to share!

Thanks,

*-*

Kristin

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Welcome Autumn

table lamp, ceramic, handmade, seattle, kri kri, interior lighting

table lamp, ceramic, handmade, seattle, kri kri, interior lightingHello and Happy Autumn!

Thanks to all of you who visited the VIT ceramics booth at Dwell on Design in June!
This year, I exhibited the VIT collection in white and it was very well received. I also felt a strong response to the handmade element of VIT ceramics. Today we are surrounded by technology and super refined, highly produced, objects. Though definitely not undesirable, it seems that in response to so much tech, we are becoming more attracted to handmade objects and the beautiful irregularity inherent in artisan-crafted pieces. Dwell on design gave me the opportunity to witness, first hand, the smiles on peoples as they entered the Kri Kri Studio booth and relaxed, surrounded by handmade ceramics.

Along with introducing white to my range, I started using a vintage style, white twist cord with the VIT ceramics lamps. This carries through with the thin white stripe detail and creates a more polished product. I love the texture and the way this cord drapes!

ceramic lamp, handmade, kri kri studio, seattle, VIT ceramics, vintage cord, small details

Also New: The Bubble Lamp; Transformed with a drum shade, this small piece is ideal for bedsides, entry ways and cozy spaces!

handmade, ceramic lamp, table lamp, kri kri studio, seattle, VIT ceramics, blackhandmade, ceramic lamp, table lamp, kri kri studio, seattle, VIT ceramics, celadon

handmade, ceramic lamp, table lamp, kri kri studio, seattle, VIT ceramics, yellow

 

A busy summer has made for an exciting Autumn! I am now working on samples of lamps and vases using my new color, “Chocolate brown”. For a look at these delicious options, visit Kri Kri studio on Instagram .

Newest in the vase range is a Tall Square vase.

tall vase, handmade ceramics, square, pottery, seattle, kri kri, vit ceramics

Both elegant and quirky, this shape can stand on its own holding a bountiful bouquet. Used in pairs, the Tall Square vase creates balance and drama on mantles and sideboards. I look forward to filling  a chocolate version with fall colors!

Wishing you all a stimulating transition into the new season!

*-*

Kristin

Black and white: the tall gourd lamp

black, lamp, VIT lamp, ceramic design, ceramic lamp, custom lamp, kri kristudio

My recent open house at Kri Kri Studio gave me an opportunity to play around with my lamps, something I rarely get to do because I am so busy making them! When I found myself short of large drum shades for the tall gourd lamp, I plunked a shade for the space needle lamp on it. The result was a playful contrast of size and shape; the shade being narrow and wide, the base narrow and tall. (dimensions: 15″ wide x 24″ tall)

lamp, ceramic design, VIT ceramics, Kri Kri Studio, ceramic lighting, pottery lamp, tall table lamp                                                                                 It was my good fortune to also have free access to the store room of shades from Insatiable Studios to top lamps on display. Of the 4 pieces I chose, one was the large drum with a diamond motif pictured here. These handmade rice paper shades add another layer of craft to the VIT ceramic lamps.   (dimensions: 14″ wide x 28″ tall)

Lamps are not something that people rush in to by by the armful. I held this first open house in the evening so that the lamps could be appreciated and I didn’t offer much else for sale. My aim was to have folks to enjoy each other and I wanted to be able to hang out and get to know my customers better. If you would like to be on my mailing list for the next event (Dec. 6th) Please get in touch with me. I’d love to invite you!

Bubble lamp

ceramic lamp, small lamp, table lamp, pottery lamp, handmade lamp
VIT ceramics Bubble lamps

The Tall Gourd lamp continues to be my most popular style in the VIT ceramics lamp range. However, I am very excited about the Bubble lamp. It now comes with a custom, cone shaped shade that I designed. These shades are made just for me in the USA. Have a little fun with this “all American” product!
New colors; black and celadon
Two new colors have been added to the lamp range; black and celadon. Both these classic colors open new possibilities to your design schemes. I am always open to developing custom colors for the any of the lamps. The custom projects are an opportunity for me to keep abreast of current tastes and to try something fresh.