I recently watched Treasures of Chinese Porcelain on BBC4 – I have a secret obsession for clay that I am trying to keep the lid on (no pun intended!). It explores the history of the medium which originated in Jingdezhen, China and explains why these historic pots are so valuable. I particularly like traditional blue and white porcelain: a transluscent white ground painted with cobalt oxide.
The programme looks at the work of Felicity Aylieff, an artist/ceramicist who has travelled to Jingdezhen to better understand the techniques and decoration of these traditional porcelain ceramics. She has been able to make huge vessels, up to 3 metres tall, with the help and skill of local Chinese potters.
A scene shows her decorating one of these pots: using an enormous, laden chinese brush she throws slip at the naked pot, making marks with huge gestures as she moves around the pot’s entirety.
So often I am inspired by people working outside of my discipline. The types of mark Felicity Aylieff makes on her pots could easily be transferred onto cloth – I feel the purchase of a large brush coming on!