Patina, n. pə-ˈtē-nə a surface appearance ofsomething that has grown beautiful, especially with age or use.
- Rubbing the pot with dirt
- Blocking the drainage hole to fill the pot with a solution of water and fertilizer that is much stronger than what one would use for a planting
- Adding fertilizers to the soil
- Soaking pots in water until they grow algae
- Keeping a pot on the north side of a building to limit its exposure to direct sunlight
- Slathering on a mixture of buttermilk and bits of moss to the exterior of the pot. (Here are full instructions on Martha Stewart's technique, if you'd like a DIY project for the new year)
Sometimes I'm surprised that some white clay pots seem to age very quickly, while others stay whiter for many seasons. There are variations in the clay I use, depending on where in the pit the clay was dug, and differences in the potting soil and fertilizer used on commercial plants, which might explain it.
Below are some examples of my pots in various stages of patina development. In any event, it is important to know that the white terracotta pot you choose, will develop a patina of age after you plant it.
#12 Medieval Urn, one of my designs that was part of the "G. Wolff & Co." collection on which Guy Wolff and I collaborated in the late 90's and early '00's. I made this one in 2003, So it has had quite a few seasons of plantings.
#12 Cotswold Full Pot, which has had 3 or 4 seasons on our deck in Wisconsin.
#24 Bartram pot, with many years of outdoor exposure, with a nice mossy patina, contrasted by a newly planted coggled rim terracotta piece I made last summer.
Here's a #24 Split Rim Scallop pot that had just been unloaded from the kiln last summer, and was freshly planted. Any patina you notice on this one is from our Antique White finish, in which a mineral wash containing iron and copper is carefully applied applied before firing to make the pots look just a little old while it's still brand new out of the kiln.
My friend, Laura Boissonnault who's Instagram page @howsitgrowingnj now has over 30,000 followers, was kind enough to share with me one of her Instagram stories showing the various patinas that had developed on her Wakefield Handmade pots. I've uploaded it to my YouTube channel so that you can have a look.
Megan and I love seeing photos of how people plant up our pots, so please feel free to share them! You can mention @wakefield_handmade in your social media posts, or email us a photo at firstname.lastname@example.org