Sunday, 24 June 2007

The Crafter's Way 16

Each week I write a craft column for a local paper. I reproduce it here for bloggers.

Porcelain Painting is an ancient art that is still popular today, thousands of years after it originated in China. Porcelain art is also known as China Painting. It is a form of decoration for porcelains and other ceramics that involves multiple layers of special mineral glazes applied to a piece of porcelain to form a visual design.

Porcelain paintings are done with the same attention to design, pattern, colour and visual texture as other forms of painting. The techniques most closely resemble those used by the watercolour artist. However the finished appearance is more like an oil painting with rich, deep colours. China painting is a slow process that requires at least three or four fires to finish a project. After each firing the piece must cool before removal from the kiln. This may be overnight. If the piece is removed before this time it may result in cracking. When a piece is fired in the kiln at temperatures from 1380 degrees to 1600 degrees, the glaze of the chinaware softens enough to allow the paint to "fall into the glaze". The goal in porcelain painting is to have the surface of the finished piece as smooth to the touch as it was before we applied any paint to it.

In 1980 US President Jimmy Carter declared Porcelain painting as a “fine art”. His proclamation stated: “The art of painting on porcelain has been recognized as a fine art by all the world’s great civilizations and has enriched museums in many countries for hundreds of years. This art form, requiring great skill, training, and talent has been enthusiastically adopted and enhanced by thousands of talented Americans whose labors will awe and delight generations yet to come.”

Lucky for us that many Australians also have embraced this art form as their own. The Queensland Porcelain Artist meet at Mt Gravatt showground, Logan Rd Mt Gravatt on the first Friday of each month. On the weekend 30 June – 1 July they are holding their annual exhibition and sale at the Mt Cootha Botanical Gardens Auditorium. 9am – 4pm daily. Adults $3, Concession $2. For more information please phone 3287 1467 or 3267 6290

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