March 26, 2010

china blue - old and new ceramics

I think everyone has had an encounter with classic blue ceramic china. I remember plates and bowls we had when I was little that had lovely watery blue fish swimming across them in the traditional Chinese style. Cobalt blue and white ceramics have been dated back to as early as the ninth century in both China and the Middle East. The classic Chinese blue and white porcelain was really perfected in the Qing dynasty in the 17th Century.
Recently I was thrilled to find, online, some wonderful images I have at home that I have kept in my 'best of' interior magazine folders. Styled by Christine Rudolph, this magazine spread is truly beautiful. It is large format (I can't remember which title it was) and the blues are so rich and luxurious. I am pleased that I can share a few of the pics with you.

{see Christine's portfolio here - scroll to image 30 and 31}
As a style, blue and white ceramics have certainly lasted a long time. So much so that it is a style that almost is common and a bit daggy. It's great to see it re-invented almost with a modern take, like in the images above. Another creative use of these classic ceramics can be found in the work of German artist Gesine Hackenberg.
Gesine has explained her work so eloquently,  she is "... fascinated by the aspect of personal preciousness revealed in all kinds of belongings". Isn't that a great phrase "personal preciousness". As mentioned, I have fond memories of our "fish bowls" and if any of them had survived me and my 3 siblings, I would have appreciated being able to continue my relationship with these pieces in a new way as something wearable. I also like that the original ceramic pieces are not destroyed in the process of extracting the jewellery pieces. The old plates get a new lease on life as a piece of art.
{See Gesine's work on her website, and please read her lovely description of her concept.}
My last find today is some modern re-interpretations of blue and white china. There are plenty out there, but my favourite is this range from UK retailer John Lewis.
I like that although these pieces feature a modern pattern, the blue colouring is not perfectly even, replicating the traditional hand painted, watery effect of the original Chinese style. I would happily have this blue and white china in my home.

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