Cobalt is the metal oxide that gives the wonderful blue colour to most ceramics. Cobalt is also used in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which means the demand for cobalt has really increased over the last few years. 80% of Cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where some of the mining practices are unregulated and unsafe.
My supplier (Bath Potters) state that 'We only use suppliers when we are satisfied that our ethical values have been met' and on their website they include a document from the mining company in DRC who supplies them, outlining their safety practices. This is a very positive step, and a result of potters starting to question where their raw materials come from. However, I am still reluctant to take this completely at face value, and combined with the fact that mining for cobalt is an energy intensive business, I would like to try to reduce my use of cobalt, and treat it like the rare and special metal that it is.
For that reason, you may notice that my colour palette changes, and that my new products contain only small highlights of blue, or sometimes none at all. I hope you like them!