I’ve been researching porcelain quite extensively over the last few weeks, particularly the temperatures you have to fire the clay at and how the different firing methods affect the body and colouring. It’s not a secret that I love functional objects, utilitarianism some might call it, well at the workshop I’ve been toying with the idea of creating some vessels that have a purity about them, and porcelain seems like a great place to start. As with any material, you don’t usually know what you’re getting yourself in to until it’s too late and you’re half way down the path, I could say this has happened to me on this occasion. I originally intended to stick with a normal low firing white clay, but I’ve had the urge to try and experiment with firing porcelain. Unfortunately, my local workshop doesn’t fire at this temperature, so this is where my research is currently, how can I create finished forms like this!?
Through my inquisitive nature I often bump in to things that make me have an ‘aha’ moment, maybe not in informative terms this time, but just in shape, structure and general inspiration. These works designed by Oji Masanori, in collaboration with Touetsugama Machiya, make up the JICON brand who produce modern porcelain wares that can be used everyday. Porcelain tends to have that stigma attached to it where it’s used more for art and high-end pieces than anything else, so JICON is turning that on its head and bringing it in to the 21st century.
I have to say one of my favourite things about the collaboration, or what Oji has done with it, is the fact that the porcelain doesn’t look perfect all over, some of the items have some texture and non-uniformity, which leads on to something that has a unique charm. Plus, they give off a feeling of honesty and warmth, rather than cold and sterile, which is very hard to find in a lot of functional wares. Overall I think these are a good balance between the traditional Oriental use of material and the Western nature of cups, bowls and plates, a harmony between the two. Whilst I carry on with my research in to porcelain, and find a way of actually making some pieces, I urge you to the JICON website to check out other items that they have on offer. There’s sure to be some imagery that’s worth pinning or saving for a later later.