Everyone loves seeing a couple that works well together. And not just a couple that gets along, but actually works together (without anyone losing their head). Although our appreciation of this is perhaps influenced being in this category ourselves. We encountered quite a few artist-couples in Jingdezhen who both produce ceramic works, or at the very least share a studio. But whereas many artists both produced their own respective work, these two were on a different level.
Any good partnership will have each side working to their strengths. In the case of this couple, her strengths are arguably on the artistic side, while he focuses on managing their brand and marketing their work, not to mention some work on the pieces as well.
Even though it was after 9pm when we visited, she was still hand engraving plates, one after another. Finished plates on the right, blank ones on the left. Each design featuring subtle differences, depending on what she felt.
When asked if she felt this kind of work is difficult, she more or less shrugged. She had previously spent time doing fine painting and drawing for a small producer of high end teaware. When we say painting and drawing, we don’t mean stick figures and colour-inside the lines type of work, but rather “gongbihua” style drawings and skilled, detail artwork, similar to what you can see on our Vignette series teacups.
She explained that with repetition the work becomes easier, but strong foundational skills are still necessary. Considering the training and skills that she has, engraving these plates likely feels like a walk in the park in comparison.
As she continued with the plates, her partner inquired if either of us is allergic to urushi lacquer. Luckily we’re not sensitive, but this is the lacquer used as an adhesive when performing gold kintsugi repair on ceramics. As he focused on his task at hand, we couldn’t help but admire the finished bowls and plates surrounding us, not to mention their vision and dedication.