• Making Chinese Lacquerware Teacups.

    The lacquer is made using sap from the Chinese lacquer tree (Toxicodendron vernicifluum, also known as Japanese sumac and varnish tree). After filtering and heat treating, the sap is mixed with pigments and applied as layers of varnish to the outside of the cups. The video above shows each step in this process. 
  • Achieving blue, white and red: Jihong and Qinghua Porcelain

    A deep yet brilliant red, Jihong is one of the classic glaze colors of Jingdezhen. Although the ingredients in the recipe are known, the difficulty of firing this glaze has meant that many porcelain studios choose an easier, more modern recipe to achieve a red glaze. Porcelain pieces that are made with the original glaze recipe for jihong are known as "fanggu" porcelain for their adherence to the original recipe.
  • Making Ruyao with Agate

    Agate, a form of quarts, is believed to be one of the key ingredients in Song Dynasty Ruyao, and was available in the area surrounding the kilns in Ruzhou. Today most true ruyao / fanggu ruyao use silica powder in lieu of agate since it has the same chemical formula - Si02 or silicon dioxide.  While the basic chemical formula is the same, the form of Si02 matters in terms of cost of sourcing and manufacturing. SiO2, whether from agate or silica, is the ingredient that gives ruyao its cloudy depth.
  • 3 Differences Between Jingdezhen and Dehua Porcelain

    Chinese porcelain is synonymous with two cities in China, Jingdezhen in Jiangxi Province, and Dehua in Fujian Province. Both regions came to be centres for porcelain production at different times, serving different markets. Both cities remain the most important centres for porcelain in China. Although exceptions exist, there are three main differences between the industries in each city.
  • Chinese Porcelain Paintings: 3 Styles

    The paint is applied last after the porcelain has already been fired with a thin transparent glaze.The porcelain is then fired at a lower temperature to set the paint. Because the porcelain has already been fired there is no need to fire the paint at the very high temperature needed to fire porcelain, therefore a wider range of materials and colours can be used than in other styles. Fencai is popularly used for vases, porcelain paintings and detailed and colourful decoration on Chinese porcelain.
  • 3 Ways of Painting Porcelain

    Porcelain artists have a very basic choice to make before they begin to paint their pieces. The choice is whether to use 1) Youxiacai 釉下彩, painting under the glaze; 2) youzhongcai 釉中彩, painting in between glazes; 3) youshangcai 釉上彩, painting on the surface of the glaze. While it may seem unimportant, this choice will dictate what colours can be used, the final appearance of the painting, and even the surface texture of the piece.  Each method has its own history and uses.
  • 4 Things to Know About Chinese Porcelain

    Chinese porcelain manufactured in Jingdezhen is the original “hard paste” porcelain. All true porcelain – excluding bone china – is based on this recipe. The recipe for porcelain is a mixture of the materials kaolin 高岭土and petuntse 白墩子/瓷石 into a clay that is then shaped and fired at around 1300°C and over.
  • Fanggu Porcelain

    Contemporary Jingdezhen porcelain owes its quality and appearance to generations of experimentation and adaptation, as well as to the retention of what is special and beautiful from earlier periods. This combination of tradition and innovation characterizes Jingdezhen porcelain. While retaining traditional techniques and patterns is important to the art of Jingdezhen porcelain, it is especially important to a specific class of Jingdezhen porcelain called “fanggu.”
  • Part 2: A Tour of a Ruyao Studio

    After finishing our interview, Mr. Lee offered to give me a tour of his studio, offering a glimpse into the production process. Here are some photos of his studio.
  • Part 1: An Interview with a Ruyao Master

    This April, while the people around us were busy with the spring tea harvest, we made a visit to Mr. Lee Shanming’s (李善明) studio, Shan Kiln 善窑, in Jingdezhen to see his new spring products, and to take some photos back with us for our blog. Lee Shanming is our featured Ruyao artist. All of the Ruyao Teaware in our shop is handcrafted in his studio in Jingdezhen.

  • Jingdezhen Porcelain and the name China

    Every child in China learns that the country has been making porcelain ceramics as far back as the Tang Dynasty (AD 618 – 907), and that the small town of Jingdezhen 景德镇 has been the centre of this craft. While Chinese porcelain is also famous worldwide, few outside of China may know the importance of this town or have even heard its name.