Crafts are often handed down through families for generations, and this practice has kept them alive in the modern world. Some family traditions have excluded crafts, and those people must take classes to learn their skills. No matter how a craft is learned, practice is important for honing necessary skills and creating objects of beauty. Over the centuries, many craft skills were restricted, and few people knew the one secret step that created a work of art from a craft. All of that has changed in the modern world.
The creation of fine porcelain was once a highly guarded secret, and it was reserved for the aristocracy. Pieces made of this material were beautifully decorated objects that graced the halls of palaces, and ownership was quite restricted. In China, only those who were connected with the Emperor were allowed to own porcelain pieces. Today, it is widely known that porcelain is created with clay that has a high kaolin content for a smoother finish, and it is fired in a hotter kiln to complete the transformation.
For many years, the secret of bone china was kept hidden to preserve the manufacturer’s lock on the market. Bone was finely ground, and it was then added to the clay slurry used to produce the porcelain pieces. When this craft secret became known, many other potteries began creating their own versions. Rather than reserving fine bone china only for the aristocracy, anyone with enough money could purchase a set. Today, English fine bone china is still sought by collectors.
Modern pottery crafters are often seeking challenges once they learn the basics of their chosen craft, so many of them choose to create objects of porcelain or bone china. It takes a great deal of skill to get the mixtures correct, and learning to create with these materials provides a unique challenge for the crafter.