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The Porcelain City

24 March 2024

I didn’t grow up knowing Jingdezhen as a UNESCO creative city. By reputation, it is the only city in China, has survived nearly two millennium by a single trade, – making ceramics, mostly for the ancient imperial palaces and export to Europe. Driven by my curiosity to discover its true nature, I boarded a flight, and I sought answer to one question: my wares will be the foundation of Poppy & Pepper, does Jingdezhen have what it takes to actualise my design at highest quality?

Very quickly I realised that Jingdezhen truly has its own social-economic system. It is a vast network of ceramic professionals go around in full circle. As an outsider, I am certainly not alone. Artists, designers and businesspeople from all over the country, even the world, live there and develop their work. The amount of knowledge about making ceramics pass around in the professional fields of Jingdezhen is astonishing! People are open to share insights and contacts. I learnt more everyday just by talking to them.

What stopped me from looking elsewhere is the people and their culture. Appreciating the traditional ways of hand making ceramics is an essential part of ceramists’ everyday life. It is communicated through the way they explain their work and their openness to challenges of working with a new design. True craftsmanship is ensuring best outcome of every step of the process instead of simply meeting a production goal.

I had been to Jingdezhen four times in the past twelve months. Each time I feel more like a member of the community. I am very proud of the progress I have made and confident in my wares for Poppy & Pepper. I can’t wait to return there again!