Materials & Techniques


Porcelain is the purest workable clay, made with little earth and mostly kaolin, silica, and feldsapr. After firing at very high temperatures (1250°-1350°C), it has a glasslike, water-tight gloss finish. Porcelain takes its name from the similarity it bears to the finish of the cowrie shell, in Italian porceliana. It was first produced in China in the 7th or 8th centuries CE and did not reach Europe until 1709.

Adapted from:

  • DMA unpublished material, 1995.

  • DMA unpublished material, Gallery Text (Materials and Meaning in the Center for Creative Connections), 2008.

Web Resources

  • Youtube
    Watch a video demonstrating the process of making porcelain wares.

  • The New Yorker
    Read "The European Obsession with Porcelain."