We have been continuing our research both from historical records, discussions with contemporary and traditional ceramicists and visits to see and measure examples of Nantgarw porcelain.
A new high temperature test kiln has now been purchased along with a blunger, a selection of raw materials, tools and miscellaneous equipment.
Our first test frit has been made and when dry will be fired and ground. We expect this first test frit will be complete before the end of August and shortly afterwards we will mix with china clay and start preparing a slip from which we hope to cast and fire some initial simple test samples. If this proves successful we will make up a larger quantity of frit which will be ground at an external organisation.
At the same time we are commissioning a wood turner and a professional sculptor to develop some cabinet cups, handles, feet and saucers which will be then be made into professional quality moulds. We anticipate these moulds to be complete by the end of September/early October.
Through October we hope to be starting to cast our first cabinet cups for our crowdfunding rewards. We are working closely with Kinver Ceramics in Worcester who are specialists in slipcasting and hand-decorating bone china.
Sally Stubbings is experimenting with porcelain enamelling and we plan to bring a specialist porcelain decorator to Nantgarw to provide further instruction and guidance. We may also offer a paid workshop to local artists interested in learning more about painting on ceramics. We have yet to determine whether cabinet cups created for the crowdfunding will be handpainted or transfer printed.
We have also started looking at possible contemporary ceramicists who we could commission to make new work from the Nantgarw porcelain. The resultant work would then form the basis of a touring exhibition, most likely in 2019. This exhibition could be presented at a range of UK venues which currently hold collections of Nantgarw Porcelain.
Recreating the finest porcelain ever made
Nantgarw China Works Trust has launched its first ever crowdfunding campaign, calling on the public to help realise an ambitious new project: the recreation of the world famous porcelain made at Nantgarw, in South Wales during the early years of the 19th century. We’re using the crowdfunding platform Art Happens, hosted by national charity Art Fund, we hope to raise £15,000 in just 30 days, to help make this project a reality.
For two hundred years the exact recipe and production methods have remained secret. However, recent spectroscopic analysis along with historic research, including coded documents unearthed in museum archives, have provided the opportunity to recreate the porcelain for the first time. Using traditional and modern materials, practices and kilns our project team will create a small production facility at Nantgarw to make the porcelain using exactly the same premises as used by William Billingsley in 1813.
The team, including the resident artists at Nantgarw, University specialists, manufacturers of clays, industrial chemists as well as experts in porcelain and bone china, mould making and slip casting will work together to recreate and improve the original porcelain body and glaze.