The Making of Porcelain

pastePorcelain Paste
There are three minerals in a Porcelain paste. These include 50% kaolin, 25% quartz and 25% feldspar. These are diluted in water, then ground, mixed, sifted and filtered. This is called the 'slip'.

Phase 1 - Molds
To manufacture of a porcelain piece, the creation of a model is needed. From an image, the model is made in plaster which becomes the basis for the master mold enabling the mass production of the porcelain pieces. They are usually made of plaster.

castingmoldsPhase 2 - Casting
Casting is where the slip is poured into the molds. After a precise period of time for setting, proportional to the size of the piece, the excess slip is rejected and the pieces are then taken out. 


Phase 3 - Drying
Drying process begins after the pieces are taken out of the molds. The time depends on the size of the objects, varying from 12 - 24 hours. During the drying process, the pieces shrink by 3%. 

Phase 4 -  Handle Sticking
This entails the addition of fittings such as spouts and handles using slip strengthened with an added binder, as well as piercing the holes in the spouts of tea and coffee pots. 

Phase 5 - Fettling 
Seams or any imperfections, caused by the division of the mold into several parts, are removed during this process.

firstfiringfettlingPhase 6 - Bisque-Firing
After molding, pieces undergo first firing at 980°C in kilns which dehydrates each piece, making it porous so that the glaze fixes itself to the surface and minimizes shrinkage during firing.

Phase 7 - Glazing
Once passed bisque-firing, glazing is done for a smooth and shiny appearance. Each piece is hand dipped into a glaze slop. Glazing makes the thickness even on the surface of each piece.

2ndfiringPhase 8 - Firing
The second firing known as “grand feu”, is done for 24 hours in gas-fired kilns. This process is to vitrify the paste and the glaze to augment the whiteness, translucency, resonance and hardness of the porcelain. During firing, pieces shrink from 10% to 12% and reaches its final size.

Phase 9 - Selection
The last phase of manufacturing white products is the selection. Each piece is checked and graded individually according to quality.

Phase 10.1 - Decoration
Process continues for decorated pieces. Certain unique pieces are hand-painted.

design2Phase 10.2 - Gold Relief
If gold or platinum is required in the design, the piece is washed with petrol, detergent and water before it goes to the next process. Gold relief is a decorative technique of embossed gold motifs applied by brush with a special paste. The piece go through another firing and is then dusted with fine gold before another firing.

selection2Phase 10.3 - Gold Polishing
For pieces with gold, the final process involves gold polishing. After firing, gold has a matt appearance which needs polishing and rubbing with a cloth and sand which results to a shiny new appearance.

Phase 11 - Quality Control
Before shipping the products to a final destination,  each piece is carefully checked after every phase to ensure that Jacques Pergay provides the world with only high quality products.