Long time blog readers will remember my past features of making dollhouse or miniature accessories from beads and jewelry making findings (see links below). You can also make crockery sets using polymer clay.  These should delight dollhouse enthusiasts. Or you can add bails to them and make these into miniature jewelry designs like little teapot earrings!

The tutorials are by Clay Zoo, a South Korean clay artist. He demonstrates how to make the polymer clay cane so reminiscent of blue and white patterned porcelain tableware. Towards the end, he shows how to carefully shape and put together the slices to form a plate, bowls, tea cups and a little teapot. 

This blue and white polymer clay tutorial 

This second one features a different pattern and a taller teapot. You can check out Clay Zoo's channel for other miniature tableware how-tos.

A Brief History of Blue and White Porcelain Tableware

Porcelain tableware has been made for thousands of years. The Chinese first started making the delicate and translucent ceramic about 2600 years ago using kaolin clay mixtures. By the late 1200's, cobalt blue pigment was used to create blue and white patterns and continued to be made throughout the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).

These Ming era tableware became wildly popular and famous when they were imported to Europe in the 1600's. The ship cargos bearing such porcelain became known as "white gold" because they were so expensive as well as exotic.  

Watch this fascinating British Museum video on Ming blue and white porcelain. Here the curator, Jessica Harrison Hall, explains the differences between pieces made at different times during the Ming dynasty. The city where the finest porcelain was made, is Jingdezhen, still known as the porcelain capital of the world. 

It's fascinating to see, towards the end of the dynasty, how the quality of the pieces dropped as the artisans sped up their work to meet the huge export demand.

The Europeans loved porcelain which was so much more refined than the brown earthenware they were used to.  Porcelain changed the way they dined - for the rich, it became a symbol of power, refinement and privilege. Fine china became fashionable for tea drinking - tea was then another expensive commodity. The "China drink" was thought best drunk from Chinese porcelain.

The Europeans did not figure out for a long while that the key ingredient for making porcelain is kaolin or gaoling clay. The Dutch ceramists in Delft came up with an imitation product where a white tin glaze was applied over their brown earthenware and decorated with mainly blue designs. It became known as Delftware or Delft Blue

Vintage Delftware Planter Pots from EntourageFinds

It was the royal factory in Meissen, Germany which finally began making porcelain with locally sourced kaolin. Other European manufacturers followed. The famous chinoiserie blue willow pattern was developed by English ceramists. It is the most consistently reproduced pattern of all time.

Vintage Blue Willow Cake Stand from CakeStandsBoutique

References :

Before You Go:

jewelry making supplies


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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM