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Key to the City

Explore China’s Porcelain Capital with Two Brooklyn Ceramicists

Key to the City BY olivia martin 11/14/2017

Rows on rows of drying bowls. 

Jingdezhen, a city in northeastern China, has been famous for its porcelain vessels for nearly 2,000 years, making it the place for all things pottery. So, when ceramicists and besties Jazmin de la Guardia and Sierra Yip-Bannicq of the Brooklyn-based line Franca wanted to take their skills to the next level, they booked it straight there. The duo found the city so inspiring that now they head back for a few weeks every year to collaborate with master artisans (and to eat some seriously spicy noodles). As Jazmin says, “The entire city revolves around the different stages of handmade porcelain production. It is like a small town that happens to have over one million inhabitants—which, for China, is considered small!” Get Jazmin’s scoop on their favorite places to get their hands in some clay and to throw down with the locals.  



“The city has been producing porcelain for the past 1,700 years. If you visit this site, you’ll be able to see the different types of historic kilns and how a piece went from being thrown to being glazed and fired.” 

 Remnants of ancient porcelain. 


“You can take classes at this international center focusing on the development and enrichment of ceramics culture. Their staff is bilingual, so it’s easy for foreigners to take classes and learn more about the city. They also offer residency programs for people who want to spend a few months in Jingdezhen to produce work.”

A row of workshops in Laochang.


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Speckled Tall Costa Vase
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“The name of the newest pottery area translates to Ceramic Art Avenue. It’s a newly renovated historic factory district with a market that’s open Saturday afternoon and most nights. There are also shops open at night, as well as studios you can visit, a couple of restaurants, and a big hotel.” 

 Glaze samples galore.


“Another area a few miles outside of the town, Sanbao Artist Village, is out in the mountains, and there are lots of studios to tour during a day trip.” 

Enormous vases in the sun.



“We also recommend exploring this neighborhood, known as The Sculpture Factory. It has an amazing Saturday morning creative market where young, up-and-coming ceramic artists sell their work.”

This bowl is so big throwing it is a three-person project. 

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Blossom Costa Bottle Vase
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“We love going to this market, which is only open early Monday mornings. It is an outdoor antique fair where people come from all over and set up little blankets on the ground to display the items they have for sale. You can find ancient shards of porcelain bowls dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties, as well as old furniture and other objects dating back hundreds of years.”

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