The first step was closing the factory gates on the satirical puppet workshop Spitting Image. Moving to Australia, it turned out, was the next great stride. No one can live in Australia for long without becoming very aware of the influence of China, both culturally and economically and I ended up in Jingdezhen, China’s Porcelain City.
Photo by Michael Coulson
Most of the workshops in Jingdezhen are highly specialised, family businesses – skilful pottery sweatshops, not unlike my Spitting Image puppet factory. Porcelain City was as busy making things as Britain in the 1950s. I felt oddly at home in this strange culture.
I had previously travelled widely in Australia drawing surreal and exotic creatures found in the wetlands and seas around that sunburnt country – everything from Weedy Sea Dragons to Cheer-leader Crabs. In China I was looking for a new way to use this exotic Aussie bestiary.
Photo by John Lawrence Jones
Ultimately, I decided that carving could be the most effective way to use my Australian drawings, but finding craftsmen to work collaboratively with me proved problematic. Finally a young carver, Mr Wu Song Ming, took the risk, and The Cheer-leader Crabs and Weedy Sea Dragons started to appear on fine porcelain.
For all enquiries about ceramics please contact:
32 Bruton Place
London W1J 6NW
Tel: 0207 499 0365