Bone China Plaques – Why so unique!
True Bone China/Porcelain plaques have never been produced in great numbers over the centuries. Research shows that these plaques are rare and are highly sought after.
The main reason for this rarity is due to the high loss rate of up to 80% when firing occurs. The rectangular clay plaques first biscuit firing shows little damage. The risk can occur in the consequent biscuit, glost and numerous decorating firings. The firing changes the molecular structure of the clay and stresses occur in the plaque. This then can cause cracking, warping and general weaknesses in the structure.
It takes a great level of knowledge and skill to produce high quality bone china and porcelain paintings using the traditional decorating techniques. I have had the privilege of learning these skills from a true master ceramic painter.
The Finished Piece:
My bone china and porcelain paintings can have up to fifteen firings in order to build up and lock in the glaze colours. The deep rich colours are unified and become one with the ceramic body, leaving a long lasting luxurious glossy finish. There is nothing else quite like it. It has been said that there is no art without suffering, however, and painting on ceramic is no exception. It is a painstaking process and there is plenty of room for it to go wrong. There is a risk of loss/damage on each of these firing which make this work incredibly uncertain but amazingly fulfilling when you see the finished piece. Even just opening the kiln too quickly can cause the piece to crack, I have learnt the hard way. Despite these temporary frustrations I just adore this medium, it has an honour and integrity about it. To think you could put a piece in the ground for hundreds of years and it will look just the same when someone digs it up.
A Dying Art:
My father (Rick Lewis) believes that I may be one of the only a handful of modern day ceramic artist using the true traditional china painting techniques. My father was the apprentice of the master ceramic painter Harry Davis at Royal Worcester (1965-69), then created his own ceramic Company Hereford Fine China. I feel rather privileged to have been taught these amazing skills plus been given some secrets of the trade.