Art & Craft of Passion with Clay
Malaysia, Selangor Seramik Kraftangan
Cindy Koh of Clay Expression, Malaysia demonstrates how to shape the lip of a cylinder with just 2 steps.
Cindy is a pottery teacher in Malaysia and conduct clay classes & ceramic workshops.
Shaping a clay cylinder lip on the pottery wheel
Not just a pretty plateThe French finally discovered kaolin to make the hard-paste porcelain which the region of Limoges is now famous for.
Chinaware has a rich and fascinating history beyond its practical use.
K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat)...
the prized treasures
of today always be the cheap trifles of the day
before? Will rows of our willow-pattern dinner
plates be ranged over the chimney-pieces in the
years 2000 and odd?”
Limoges cracker jar circa 1890.
After struggling with soft-paste porcelain in Sèvres
in one word: yes.
My love affair with old china is a modest but
steadfast one. It began about a decade ago with two
saucers from Société Céramique de Maastricht.
saucers go, they were just about averagely pretty.
And if you, like my husband, agree with the
expression, “What’s a pretty plate with nothing on
it?”, you are probably wondering what the fuss is
It is not something
that can be coherently
When I first lay eyes on those two saucers in a
thieves’ market in Mumbai, I felt as though I was
looking at 100 years of life being lived.
woman from another age did all the things I do today
– had a cup of tea, washed up afterwards? Wondered
why there were always dishes to wash?
of primary colours in the hand painting
and the spatterware pattern of rust and cobalt flower heads,
green leaves detailed with magenta and green tear
drop brush strokes is known as “Gaudy Dutch” and the
plates that I have are circa 1863-1887
that, the company changed hands and the Société
Céramique name and seal were discontinued.
A Merit cup and saucer, stamped “Made in Occupied Japan”, which have considerable value as they were made after WWII during the occupation of Japan by Allied powers.
the Maastricht plates,
I acquired a beautiful floral sugar bowl. On the
back was a green wreath with the words “R.S.
Prussia” stamped in red. For years, it reposed in my
I would admire the colour
design and put it back, never dreaming that there
was more to it than its pretty face.
the pieces are incomplete
– saucers without cups, teapots without lids and so
on. Most of them, like mine, have been badly glued
together. Fakes, of course, abound.
But even so, the
eggshell-like quality of my sugar bowl and its
beautiful colouring make it special – in my eyes, at
least. Never mind that Sotheby’s will not be beating
down a track to my door as soon as they read this.
tiny Japanese hand-painted
came into my life. This plate – whose mate, an
equally tiny teacup, was carelessly separated from
it forever – turned me eastwards and even today, I
follow Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s advice (at least in
all matters concerning porcelain).
around that time, I found myself in possession
of an oval platter, of floral design. It had a
flower stamped on the back, with the words “hand
painted” along with something in Japanese.
The Japanese words turned out to be “Hotta Yu Shoten”, which was a manufactory that wound up around the 1940s and that was prolific in the early 1900s.
R.S. Prussia sugar bowl such pieces date over 100 years old.
what collectors consider to be R.S. Prussia in his
factory from the late 1800s through World War I. So
most R.S. pieces that are around today are over 100
years old and of immense interest to collectors.
There are even R.S. Prussia clubs, very similar to
the Rajnikanth clubs in Chennai.
British porcelain first came
to me in
the form of a rather unassuming, though very pretty
sauceboat and two crescent-shaped plates from
Ashworth Brothers, circa 1860. The company was based
in Hanley, Staffordshire, from 1862 to 1968 and it
usually produced ironstone tableware.
prepare to wind up this meandering journey
at the place I began it: J’s willow patterned
plates. The pattern was popularised by Thomas
Minton. I acquired the Booth version, circa 1900,
which was the most beautiful in my opinion, as the
gilt sets off the plate most beautifully.
story of the Booths Pottery
started in 1864, when Thomas Booth, then a coal
miner, started manufacturing earthenware in
partnership with a John Evans.
The name of this
extremely popular manufactory saw more changes until
in the turn of the century, the Booth name gave way
to Colclough. But even this was transient as it
changed to Colclough Ridgeway.
Article by The Star L I F E S T Y L E Monday January 7, 2008. Title: Not just a pretty plate. Story and pictures by ANJALI VENUGOPAL
in late 1955, it came to be renamed
Ridgway Potteries Ltd, until it finally and
permanently downed shutters a few years later. The
patterns of all these incarnations of Booth’s are
now owned by the Royal Doulton Group.
Ridgeway, Colclough and so on are all collector’s
items in their own right. Of
course, there are some pieces,
boxed away, that I have no clue about. Not always
does one get to buying china knowing well what it
More often, you are rummaging in second-hand stores, in car boots or deep in the bowels of antique stores, with an impatient husband waiting outside. There is also a beautiful pink and white teapot with the words “Made in Germany” stamped on the base.
interest in old china has many aspects
– one of course, is the intrinsic beauty of the
china itself. Then, there is the history of the
company, often going back several hundred years. And
lastly, is the intrigue of tracing the potter’s mark
on the back of the china to the company and often
being pleasantly surprised.
Of course, there is the ardent desire to at least see at close quarters – if not hold or (dare I say it!) even own – antique Chinese porcelain. But that would be Journey’s End, as it were and I’m not ready for that. All the fun is in getting there.