Decorative Vs. Functional
Does it matter?
As a life priority....no. As a choice you're making when buying homeware - yes. It may seem like a trivial thing to be considering but it doesn't make it any less important when you're handing over hard earned cash for something.
Now, it'll be different depending on what you're buying and the reasoning behind it. Think it looks brilliant, then you want decorative. Want it to store/display something? Then you're clearly after a functional piece.
Some things can be both. Like a BirKim. But it helps to know the diffference because it helps you make a more informed choice in which to buy.
So, what is the difference?
If you follow my Instagram, you'll have seen that I've started delving into the world of fired ceramics. I've briefly mentioned about Air Dry clay in my FAQ's too but if you're not familiar with either, then here's a run down.
Air Dry Clay: It's the pot on the left and it's exactly what it says on the tin. It's clay that dries and sets naturally. Simple. However, because it's only dried, there's nothing to make it strong and stable, like you get with other ceramics like plates/cups.
This means it's way more susceptible to damage. Most people that make with air dry clay, use it for pots and decorative items. And it's to be kept dry. This is why I say to only pot plants that use little water, like cacti. If excessive water is used, it can damage the protective coating I've used, causing water to get into the clay and causing it to crack, rot and crumble.
This is especially applied to the use of misters, used for spritzing. It can leave water droplets on the image/text, which causes damage.
Kiln Fired Clay: This applies to the bags that I've made with a different type of clay, that is then placed inside a kiln, and the bags are fired at incredibly high temperatures. They are then glazed/decorated and fired again. This is the clay used for the pot on the right!
This process means that they are stronger and way more versatile. They can be used as vases and hold water with no issues. As with any ceramic, if you drop it, it'll break! But you can use it with less worries, making it functional. They sometimes shrink a little during firing, but never by much!
What does it mean though?
It basically means that in my future listings, once I've got my shit together, there'll be two collections.
FUNCTIONAL // DECORATIVE
If you want something to have on the shelf and offend your friends/family/pets, then great - go DECORATIVE! Maybe put some of those cute bunches of dried flowers in.
But if you want to put a sexy ass creeper plant in and drown that thirsty bastard in water, then FUNCTIONAL is your friend.
How does it affect prices?
It affects them a little. Air Dry is something I can create in the comfort of my own home studio. Kiln Fired is something I have to pay out for as I need materials, firing and glazes for that shit. This means that they will cost a bit extra.
The 'FUNCTIONAL' collection will also be in a range of sizes, so you can go classic, bigger or BIG!!
It's completely up to you if you wanna pay for them. I always look at it as a small investment piece. I have hundreds of small pieces around our home and I could probably tell you about when I bought every single one, because they have memories attached.
I have a couple of collaborative pieces that I'm working on but am hoping to launch the 'FUNCTIONAL' collection in November....just in time for Xmas! It takes time to create these pieces but they're all totally worth it.
The 'DECORATIVE' collection is ongoing, in small batch drops as I need to allow time for everything else to get done at the same time. Updates for release dates will always be in my Instagram profile!
Do they look different?
Yes. This is because they are different clays and processes in building them. But the overall idea is the same. The air dry pots are bright white, but are prone to dust being caught during the outer layer being sprayed on.
The fired ones aren't as bright, they have a natural clay colour, coated in a white glaze. They are made from stoneware clay so the base can appear rough. But they have a beautiful shine and sit upon shelves in complete confidence that they're doing their job.
They're all finished with their various designs and will always have a BirKim Butt imprinted on the base.