Lorraine Spring

China painting

Lorraine Spring. 'Imatiens'. Detail
Lorraine Spring. 'Impatiens'
Lorraine Spring. 'Impatiens'. Base

David and I couldn’t resist buying this hand-painted plate when we saw it on eBay. China painting is usually outside our remit but we liked the elegant design with its low-key palette and the way the pink impatiens flowers are highlighted with sterling silver stems.  It was painted by Lorraine Spring in 1990. Googling reveals that she is still practicing as an artist in the Ballina Shire.

I think of china painting as outside our remit because practitioners generally don’t work with clay or glazes.  They use already fired porcelain and paints made of mineral compounds mixed in a flux of finely ground glass. When the work is fired, the flux melts and fuses the paint to the glaze. 

I would generally not include china painters in Australian Potters’ Marks because they have their own associations, teachers and craft traditions; or because they are painters like Lorraine Spring who use porcelain as one of a variety of different surfaces on which to practice their art.

This having been said, many potters and potteries work in partnership with painters to decorate forms, and overglazes can also be used by potters seeking a more painterly approach. Johanna DeMaine’s recent work springs to mind. Then there are artists like Bern Emmerichs whose painted ceramics are so rich with imagery that they take china painting to another level.