Art & Design Magazine

Cliff Lee and the Emperor's Old Glaze

By Americanart

Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee, Prickly Melons (short and tall), 2008, Porcelain, imperial yellow glaze, Collection of the artist

"Yellow makes everything shine," ceramicist Cliff Lee said at the opening of the Renwick Gallery exhibition History in the Making: Renwick Craft Invitational 2011, which features his work. He was referring to the use of the color yellow in the Ming court and how it was reserved for the emperor's use, including his distinctive, yellow robe. And if anybody knows their way around yellow, it's Lee, who spent more than seventeen years trying to unlock the secret of the yellow Chinese imperial glaze, so named for its high position in the Ming court beginning in the fifteenth century. Through what Lee called "painstaking experiments," he was able to recreate the imperial glaze in objects such as Prickly Melons from 1988 (pictured here), and Anniversary Tea Set from 2001. "I have the scars to prove it," Lee adds, "which include marks from getting bit by scorpions" when lifting old pottery to conduct his research.

In the field he sought out minerals, plants, trees, and collected ashes from old kiln sites. When I asked Lee where he conducted his research he laughed and said, "that's a secret. I can't tell you where." And then one day he had a eureka moment and solved the mystery of the imperial glaze, "Finally, I found it right in front of me. How could I not realize it?" He found the answer in his own firings back at home. The results are a yellow that would do an emperor proud.

Cliff Lee, and his wife Holly Lee, a renowned jeweler who often collaborates on her husband's pieces, will be in conversation at the Renwick on Sunday, June 19.



You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Mental Toughness - Cliff Lee

    Mental Toughness Cliff

    About a year ago I conducted a seminar for teachers about how concepts and strategies within sports psychology can help underachieving students in the classroom... Read more

    By  Meachrm
    BASEBALL, SPORTS
  • Any Old Iron

    Iron

    Swans stay second despite defeat from Abigail DaviesSaturday’s controversial victory over promotion candidates Swansea City, saw relegation battlers Scunthorpe... Read more

    By  Stuartnoel
    SOCCER, SPORTS
  • Mini Brown Sugar Muffins with Coffee Glaze

    Mini Brown Sugar Muffins with Coffee Glaze

    I have always had the impression that muffins in general are practical breakfast items. Unlike their petite counterpart, Miss Cupcake with her fancy dress-ups,... Read more

    By  Crustabakes
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES
  • New and Old

    A new development, using traditional design on the road between Marrakesh and Essouira at the seaside. Lots of Moroccan flags. As a contrast....... A humble,... Read more

    By  Elizabethwix
    CREATIVITY, DIARIES, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Myra Lee: The Flame in the Eye EP

    Myra Lee: Flame

    Myra Lee is a French singer,. Her name will confuse Cat Power fans, who cherish that singer's second album. Lee has been compared with PJ Harvey and her EP The... Read more

    By  Hctf
    ENTERTAINMENT, MUSIC
  • An Easter Delight ~ Pull-Apart Hot Cross Buns with Apricot Glaze

    Easter Delight Pull-Apart Cross Buns with Apricot Glaze

    Did you grow up on the Nursery Rhyme? I did! Hot-cross Buns! Hot-cross Buns! One a penny, two a penny, Hot-cross Buns! Hot-cross Buns! If ye have no daughters,... Read more

    By  Weavethousandflavors
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES
  • The Old Family Car

    Family

    Most diecast car collectors have a little bit of personal history in their cabinets, and I'm no exception. One car that ended up being quite hard to find and... Read more

    By  Gardenamateur
    MOTO, SPORTS

Magazines