Creating tradition with a glaze of modernity

By Yang Feiyue | China Daily | Updated: 2021-09-11 08:34
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Ye Chenxi's father Ye Xiaochun is a sixth generation inheritor of the Longquan celadon. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"You might make a great model, but it could collapse during the fire process. If the glaze was too thick or too thin, or impurities from the air got in, they would all leave undesirable marks on the final products," Ye Chenxi says.

He would review the whole process after every failure.

Ye and his family are living in an artist zone in Longquan. He and his father would often sit by the pool and discuss celadon creation and life. They also went to the depths of mountain to search for the right materials from time to time.

"Kilning is the hardest work, but it is very good test for celadon makers," says Ye Xiaochun, who started working at a local ceramic plant at 17 and spent four years in the kilning division.

Although the cracked ice glaze has already been successfully restored, the finished product rates have only stayed at around 30 percent.

Ye Xiaochun says he used to take Ye Chenxi to play in the mountain.

"My purpose was to take him to see the porcelain clay, so that he could have a certain understanding of it since childhood, because pottery itself also depends on our nature," Ye Xiaochun says.

This early influence has got into Ye Chenxi, because he has chosen his life trajectory entirely on his own.

Last year, he used leather and wood on celadon and made a set of items for study rooms, such as pen holders and ink boxes and showed them at a Shanghai exhibition.

"Young people were interested in my things," says Ye Chenxi.

It has encouraged him to make further inroads in celadon product design.

"The goal is to make celadon closer to the public and cheaper," he says.

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