Sunday, September 19, 2010

Travel Inspiration : China : Cloisonné

An unexpected stop we made on the way back from the Great Wall of China (more on that later) was a Cloisonné factory just outside of Beijing. Prior to this stop I had seen pieces made in this style, but knew nothing (nothing!!) about the tremendous amounts of work that go into each handmade item. A brief overview below.

First, items are shaped (no pic for this). Then the wire outlines are applied to each vessel. Designs are shaped and applied with tweezers. We're talking major detail work.

Then comes the color. Each piece is meticulously filled with colored powder by artists (4 coats, a trip through the kiln between each). Their workspace was breathtaking with the bowls and bowls color surrounded by stacks of gorgeous in-process items.

After the color is added there are several rounds of polishing to create the final effect (see the blue vase in the background of the last picture of the colored powders).

Our tour guide at the factory, "Babbit," explaining the process to us.

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