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Do you own china? I don’t mean stoneware with a white glaze but rather the real fine stuff eventually even hand painted. (Oh man, actually I abhor those foil glued dishes imitating Victorian era china.)
In recent years artfully painted pottery had somewhat of a comeback. I even heard that among bloggers and US-American hipsters owning a stack from the house of Anthropologie can increase status significantly.
Meanwhile renaissance of traditional porcelain is still waiting to take off. I am sure it’s because we’re all too lazy hand washing a filigree plate.
Nonetheless I am crazy for porcelain and I can hardly restrain myself from buying flea markets empty of thin-walled and gold-rimmed tea cups.
Almost half a year ago then at an arts & crafts market my eye got caught by a little china table colander with matching saucer, non vintage but still very reasonable priced. I fell in love with the design of Ines Lang slightly reminiscent of contemporary japanese styles. Everything she had laid out was filigree but the minimalistic painting made it seem unfussy enough for use everyday. I left without buying anything as I couldn’t decide if I really should buy new utensils again. (My kitchen boards are already bursting!)
Then came summer and eating berries all the time while sitting at the desk I finally decided that I did indeed need that colander.
I researched the producer again and was happy that she locates here in Cologne. Actually she works from a studio as she is one of the last traditional porcelain manufacturers this city has and her work is considered as artisanal craftsmanship.
Ines agreed to receive me at her studio which is part of the totally most coolest space for artists ever. At the Künstlerkolonie artists are self organized within a former rubber fiber factory. The huge brick complex looks a bit runtergerockt at first sight but is actually absolutely awesome. Here she shapes the raw clay, has her burning oven and displays the finished whiteware.
Ines was very welcoming and immediately started explaining me her profession and showed me each step. She also agreed me taking pictures and doing this post about her.This the plate Ines was at as I stepped in. It looks like she is painting but actually the orange color is shellac with which you can create a raised pattern.
Surely this pristine plate above was a big clayish clump beforehand. Fine raw porcelain here sourced from England which has to be kneaded at first step. Ines calls it her daily workout. Then the clump comes onto the potter’s wheel and she will super effortlessly form something beautiful. Everybody who has watched the creation process on a potter’s wheel once knows how hypnotizing it is. Maaagic!
It is very seldom that the complete forming process is done by hand on the wheel. Even big traditional manufactures use a mold at the end to eliminate any kind of little imperfections. The eyes and hands of humans work wonderfully but after the burning process tiniest, almost unnoticeable imperfections can occur. I find them beautiful and characteristic. It makes me see that each piece was created one of a kind for me. And it is not a mathematically correct edge I seek.
In the following image you can see how treatment with shellac results. The raised pattern on the sugar bowl left is my favorite.
In the studio I also saw some objects with the only purpose of serving as art. They’re so good like straight out of an interior magazine:
Also in her program porcelain pendant lamps. Similar to this one of Erik Magnussen.
Definitively on my wish list. As porcelain is shine through it gives a warm, diffuse glow. Very pleasing for the eyes.
All in all I had a very informative insight in the art of fine pottery and Ines so sweet and humble. This is so refreshing compared to the very often grumpy male craftspeople of this city. And she has an impressive output though she has to divide her time with also being a mother of a sweet little boy. This dedicated and self-employed woman… female power!