Nantgarw China Works is still extremely active in encouraging, supporting and promoting contemporary artists working with ceramics. The China Works currently provides studio space and facilities to outstanding ceramicists who create, fire and exhibit new work on the premises. These artists actively pass on their skills to both adults and children through regular workshops at China Works.
In 2017 Nantgarw China Works undertook a project to recreate the original recipe for Nantgarw Porcelain which had been lost for over two hundred years. This successful completion of this project has enabled our current artist in residence to start making new contemporary work from this exceptional porcelain body. A small number of items made from this porcelain will be sold to help support the sustainability of the museum.
My current work has been inspired by ‘Blanc de Chine’ produced in Dehua, the capital of the Fujian Province in Southwest China. This came about as a direct result of a visit to the ‘Fragile’ Exhibition at the National Museum of Wales. I was very interested in a small bowl which had been produced at the Bow factory in London. I researched this item and found that the influence for the bowl was Blanc de Chine.
Blanc de Chine refers to the ‘White of China’ and it is the quality of surface that can be achieved in the porcelain that has inspired my work. I am also intrigued by the fact that Dehua was often left with part of a foot unglazed in order to show the ‘nature and beauty of the underlying clay’. I have always felt that when you completely enclose porcelain with a glaze, something is lost.
The other influence on this body of work came as a result of attending a print making course. I fell in love with the patterns that are produced with this media. I then worked on the surface of the clay with an erosion technique which has given me the marks that I searched for in my work.
Some of my pieces have colour applied to the inside in order to add a contemporary twist and also to add an inner warmth.