Craft: Making Luzerne’s Ceramics
Cutting-edge technology joins the finest materials and artisans to create enduring modern ceramic wares for the dining table.
‘Blanc de chine’ — pure white porcelain so delicate that only the finest clay and craftsmanship can produce them to perfection. For centuries, ‘blanc de chine’ porcelain has been moulded with the white and silky indigenous kaolin clay of Dehua, which gives the pieces their distinctive ivory texture. It is in this very ‘ceramics capital’ of Dehua, with its very special kind of clay, that Luzerne bought a factory to embark on its first large scale manufacturing of dining tableware in 1995.
Having full ownership of a factory means that Luzerne has the freedom to work with the best artisans, as well as the capabilities to innovate and produce its designs to exacting quality. By the mid-2000s, the factory began investing in new technology and equipment to create exclusive and custom designs. In recent years, the development of new products is aided by 3D printing technology, where 3D plaster moulds are artisan-designed and printed to shape final products nuanced in details and functionalities.
Modernizing and applying technology to such an age-old craft not only challenges our traditional perceptions of clay as a material but also enables Luzerne to define and redefine beauty through the decades.
The actual production process of each ceramic ware, however, still bears the marks of traditional techniques with a high-level of handcrafting every step of the way. Silky clay is first grounded, sieved, demagnetized and filtered with precision before any form-making takes place. When the clay base is ready to be moulded, they are shaped in the 3D plaster moulds and biscuit-fired in an automated kiln at 800 degrees Celsius.
The formed wares are then given character by hand-painting or glazing to desired effects, where details, colors, opacity and different finishes are added to the final product. Finally, before being packed and delivered, each piece of finished ceramic ware is thoroughly inspected.
Because of the elaborateness of ceramics making, the Luzerne factory has been intricately connected to Dehua's community of craftsmen and workers who help maintain the quality and signature of Luzerne’s wares. The same spirit of collaboration also extends to a network of inspiring artists around the world, some of which The Luzerne hotel will extend its artist residency. To find out more about The Luzerne hotel’s first artist collaboration, read our next story, Art: In Residence – Calvin Tay.
Learn more about Luzerne’s craft, innovation and technique at “The Dining Evolution”, a permanent exhibition at The Space.
To understand the history and culture of Dehua’s porcelain, we recommend visiting Dehua Ceramic Museum and Dehua's Ceramic Street.