Sung Dynasty - Timeless & Contemporary..

I thought you might all enjoy a bit of writing about what makes Sung Ceramics so fascinating.
Like the sculpture of Constantin Brancusi, these ancient pots seem to capture so much essence in their simplicity. With the Korean Chosun dynasty pots, made at about the same time, they never seem to loose their grip on me. I've been sucked in .. and will forever continue to be inspired by them.
This piece has flown off to its owner in Taiwan.

"Chinese Ceramics of the Sung Dynasty are probably the classic expression not only of ceramic art in China, but in all the world. By classic we mean that the ceramics of the Sung achieved a unity of the essentials of the ceramic art which has never been surpassed. 

Shape, potting techniques, glaze, from both an aesthetic and chemical standpoint, the techniques of using the materials and firing them were all unified at the highest level. 

The result was a flawless series of wares which still commands the respect and admiration as well as the despair of the modern potter. 

In general, the shapes of the Sung Dynasty wares are extremely simple. They tend to be subtle, one form flowing into an other, in contrast to the ceramics of the Tang Dynasty and earlier. While one can speak of the neck, body and foot of a Tang ceramic, it is very difficult to know in many Sung wares where the neck commences, the body leaves off, or the foot begins.  One form flows with ease into the other, producing a unified effect. The glazes of Sung ceramics tend to be monochromatic and have surfaces that are usually rather soft and mat. They appear to be an integral part of the form of the ceramic object and have wondrous depth and texture inviting the spectator to touch. 

This was achieved by a pragmatic chemistry which, while not skilled or knowledgeable from the stand point of formulas or modern chemical processes, achieved by trial and error a very high level of chemical technique. 

Fortunatly their chemical method was not prefect, and consequently their glazes have enough imperfections in the form of chemical impurities to relieve the effect of the glaze from that hard and bright single  colour effect so characteristic of later chinese porcelains. 

The ornament used on Sung ceramic wares was, with the exception of one class, very spare, chaste, and subdued when used at all. Often the ornament was incised or carved on the body before the application of the glaze, which served to hide the ornament to a certain extent, allowing the form of the vessel to dominate the decoration. "Sherman Lee ex-Cleveland Museum Director. 

Celadon Tea set

2 teacups neither small nor too large, confortable for all teas. 
Sencha, Darjeeling, Red tea, Pu ehr, Oloong ..this is the most versatile shape. 
 Celadon Pitcher & Teaboat. 
A used water bowl in Cealdon is also available. 

Please email me for prices and availability. Made to order 3 weeks till delivery. 

Set en Celadon 
2 tasses à Thé  ni trop grandes ni petites, ces tasses sont adaptées pour tous Thés. 
Bateau à thé et Pichet Celadon. Un bol à eaux usées est aussi disponible. 

Passez moi un mail pour le prix. Temps de livraison 3 semaines. 
(photo credit Paul Mounsey)

New Teabowl

Oil Spot Teabowl Chawan
This is a new teabowl.
I have already sold it  the famous Ceramicist Roger Michell.

I now have a professional craft photographer Paul Mounsey. He understands pots as he has spent 5 years working with a potter.

Voici un nouveau bol à Thé.
'Tache d'huile' ancienne glazure chinoise.

PRESS RELEASE - Kiln Opening Event Saturday 11th May 2013 / 3pm to 6pm

 West Cornwall based potter Michel Francois’ elegant tea ware is inspired by the beauty and simplicity of ceramics from the Far East. Creating functional vessels with a pure, sculptural quality, Francois’ pieces are explorations of form and colour.

 On Saturday 11th May, Francois welcomes the public to one of his regular kiln opening events at The Rural Workshops, Breage, timed to make sure the ash-wood glazed porcelain emerges still warm from the kiln. Visitors will be first to see the unique results of this firing, the simple, sensuous ceramics in subtle and beautiful blues, reds, whites and blacks.

 Creating his own glazes using feldspar, Cornish stone and ash from local trees such as chestnut, ash, and beech, Francois’ work is kiln fired for twelve hours at temperatures of over 1300c. Employing a reduction firing technique which starves the kiln of oxygen, minerals and oxides from inside the clay are drawn to the surface to react with the ash glaze, ensuring that each piece is completely unique.

 Previously a sculptor, French born Francois settled in Cornwall in 1999 after travelling and studying in Europe. Whilst studying at Falmouth University he was assistant to well known sculptor Tim Shaw. Graduating in 2002, Francois worked as a public art sculptor for 'artonic', and after discovering a love of clay and in particular the ceramic ware of the Far East, became an apprentice at the Leach Pottery in St Ives. From there, Francois set up his own studio outside Helston.

 He recently co-designed and produced a new range of tableware for the Eden project, and his work has been shown at galleries in Paris, London, Edinburgh and at the International Teabowl exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan. Visitors to this event are welcome between 3pm and 6pm. Chinese Oolong tea will be served and works are available for purchase, with prices ranging from £10 to £500.

Francois' studio is 2 miles from Helston, signposted on the B3302 between Helston and Hayle. For further information contact Michel Francois Porcelain, The Rural Workshops, Breage, Helston, Cornwall, TR13 9NW / 01736 448002 /

(photo credit Paul Mounsey)

Kiln opening

Last saturday I opened the Kiln to the public for the first time ..

It was a great success!

Russian tea and chocolate cake was served..

David and Kathy Collen from the Essence of Tea made a special Russian Caravan blend for the occasion made  of Sun moon Lake,  Rock tea and Lapsang ...

 As far as big teapots go this was perfect!

Thank you to all my friends for helping out to make this a great event.

Thank you to Julia and all from the Leach pottery for being supportive. 
Thank you Joe and Michael for drumming people to, and helping out in the studio.
To Vicky for putting herself out, to my parents and to David and Kathy for making all the Tea!

Ru Celadon

10 années depuis la naissance de ma passion pour la céramique asiatique.
Je viens de me rendre compte à quel point j'ai travaillé pour redécouvrir cet art perdu.

La céramique la plus chère au monde est le Céladon Ru de l'époque Sung. 
Est-ce sa rareté ?  
Bien sûr seules une trentaine de pièces Ru n'ont été découvertes jusqu'à présent. 
C'est aussi et surtout pour sa beauté, ce je ne sais quoi, ni bleu ni vert, sans colorant. 
Si subtil. . 

Teaboats.. Bateaux a the..

Le bateau a the est tres utile dans la preparation du the chinois. A teaboat is very useful when brewing chinese tea. It enables the teapot to be kept warm.
This form is more open, Made in porcelain with a celadon glaze.
Here is a green Lonquan Celadon teaboat, this glaze in made with poplar ash.
I sell them also as a set with a water bowl. this allows more flexibility as one bowl can be used as a waterbowl, while the other is the teaboat.
Check my website , or email me for here/cliquez ici

Chestnut Chawan

Chestnut Ash is so magical to use. Each tree grows for one hundred years, cumulating trace minerals. They help make prisms that reflect the light. This ash is from Essex. The minerals in the clay have come to the surface, flooding into the glaze and sometimes the iron bleeds into a beauty spot. The shape for this teabowl is ancient called ch'ien, and is said to be one of the first shapes, when tea was almost a soup drink, drank with salt and onion. This teabowl is for sale. check my website for details.

My Ido teabowl

Years ago I saw an exhibition in a small museum in Toulouse called Wabi cha the art of tea. 6 ancient Chawans were on show. I was moved by the feeling of gentilness and power emanating from them. Making tea bowls as a western potter today is not the same as making tea bowls in rural korea in the 12th century. I remember talking to an other potter friend, he was saying he wanted to be korean. He started to dress korean, eat korean,and speak korean. Thinking that would help him in his artistic expression. Only to realise that good pots come from an other place. You can meditate all day and still make terrible tea bowls. . In deed 'trying' to make 'good' tea bowls does not mean you end up happy with them. Nor does the way of just mindlessly making thousands and thousands in the hope that randomness and chance firing will spare a few that will get the 'Wabi' status. The fact is 'true' art and beauty come from the action of learning. Making tea bowls for me is first an act of learning. putting into practice the synthesis of what I have been gathering in skill and energy at the time I make. I'm analysing now but the making of tea bowls comes out of a strong desire for making them. It is a free act, not a self conscious one and I enjoy it very much.
This bowl is inspired by the 'Kizemon' bowl which is an 'Ido' type korean rice bowl. I used english terracotta mixed with porcelain and added coarse cornish sand. I poured a slip over it made with jindezehen porcelain slip I made from some clay I got given after a demonstration of chinese potters in Aberistwith a few years ago. Over the slip I glazed the bowl with a thin ash Karatzu glaze. The physical making is creative with ideas pulled together, like a child inventing his own house in the woods. This teabowl is for sale. check my website for details.

New Porcelain work-new Website

I would like to let you know of my new website Je vous informe que mon nouveau site web est en ligne. I have been working a lot in Terracotta this year. Somehow It has made me come back to porcelain in a big way. I feel confident and relaxed with porcelain now. It still is a demanding partner but worth it sometimes. All these pieces are for sale now. Email me for prices and sizes.

this is a largish porcelain bowl inspired by Sui dinasty ware. This duck egg white glaze is a suptle adaptation of an ancient chard of this period. This new glaze was made possible through slight consistent glaze modifications happening over many kiln firings. Made with some cornish stone, it reflects the light and changes with it. Inside the pot goes blue outside it is more white. Good for a large used water bowl or as a fruit bowl.

A large Sui dynasty chinese shaped bowl - a timeless classic

There is an essential purity to this ancient shape. A friend warmed to this large shape for a bowl. It reminded him of a Buddhist begging bowl.
The next image is a very large porcelain bowl made for a commission of eight bowls making up an installation for outside.

The making of Black Seto - called Seto Guro

It is a dangerous business to be in Pottery.
Or maybe that is the way I like it.

In case you were wondering this it is not Raku.

Raku is fired to 980c, black Seto on the other hand is fired to 1300 in a reduction atmosphere.
Then the kiln is opened to halt the reduction and the pieces are taken out red hot. The quicker they come out the blacker they go.

When dipped in water they generate speckles.

There is nothing like it...

 either you get the stars or the dark side of the moon ...


Longquan Celadon

Après avoir fait plus de 200 pichets Alsaciens pour le Eden Project
J'ai voulu faire quelque chose de plus libérateur tout en utilisant cette belle forme de pichet. Parfait pour acceuillir des fleurs.

Ce n'est pas juste les composantes de la glazure qui donne le bon résutat, le ton la couleur et la luminosité.   Ce rendu comme les bols juns et le résultat d'un équilibre subtil entre les composantes de la glazure et  la façon dont les minéraux présent dans la terre se transmutent dans celle ci au moment de la cuisson dite en 'reduction'.

Je tente d'expliquer simplement ce type de cuisson en 'réduction' .
Au moment ou le four atteint 1000° je réduis l'oxygène présent dans le four en bloquant le conduit d'air à la sortie du four, l'oxgène va chuter de 20% à 0,2 %. C'est à ce moment que les oxyde et les minéraux dans la terre vont être tirer vers la surface car ils sont portés par l'oxygène qui va les déposer dans la glazure.

J'ai utilisé de la terre de Cornouailles avec de la porcelaine, la glazure est du type Longquan, et 10 % de cendre de peuplier Breton à été ajouté pour lui donner cette allure tendre..

La luminosité est obtenu en ouvrant le four a chaud à 1300° et en laissant cette cuisson se refroidir subitement jusque à 900° moment ou il faut refermer la porte.

Chaque cuisson, chaque sceau de glazure est différent
ce bol à eaux usées est un peu plus bleuté..

J'aime tout particulièrement ces grains de beautés, particules de fer présente dans la terre qui ont voyagé à travers la glazure pour fondre a la surface..

Bols à eau usées ou Pichet à Fleurs - 60 euros frais d'envoye 15euros mon mail
Celadon water bowl and Flower Jug -

For the US  90 $ 30$ delivery.
for the UK 50£ and 10£ delivery.