Qing Wu Tang - an artist's studio steeped in tradition

I recently spent two months back in China and was lucky enough to visit many of our artists' studios as well as meet new artists. I love spending time with people who have so much creativity and passion for what they offer to the world.

Qing Wu Tang is one of my favorite artist studios and has such a unique story. I will be bringing more of their work to 180andup over the next few months.

Qing Wu Tang is the name of a studio founded by a husband and wife team, Meng Meng and Li Junna, and translates to "The Hall of Pure Objects". Both of them grew up in Jingdezhen and their parents and grandparents were ceramic artists as well, so from a young age, they've had a deep appreciation for the beauty from ancient artists and are particularly inspired by ceramic from the Ming and Qing dynasties.

This appreciation has evolved into a passion for repairing antique ceramics with detailed Kintsugi techniques utilizing different metals - like silver staples, gold rims, and fillings. These pieces are one-of-a-kind and there is luck involved in finding pieces that are well-enough preserved and uniquely beautiful.

Li Junna also uses traditional techniques to create modern teaware inspired by either specific pieces or classic forms from the past. She is a true expert in Qing Hua (blue & white) ceramics, which require a steady hand to paint intricate, tiny designs on dried ceramic pieces and careful firing afterward. We will highlight her individual work as well as the work of her and Meng Meng together via their studio.

One of the things I loved seeing when I visited Meng Meng and Li Junna in Jingdezhen was their work with wood-fired kilns. They started Qing Wu Tang just before Covid hit and had a hard time getting started at such a tough time. Many artists use cheaper and faster modern techniques like gas or electric kilns. As an native of Jingdezhen, Meng Meng previously also worked with other artists to help them sell their products to collectors, but he stopped that business to focus on bringing Qing Wu Tang's own art to life using the traditional techniques that they love. I was so happy to see that they persevered through this time and have found success on their own terms.

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