Yixing Photo Journal

behind the scenes at China's tea pot capital

March 25, 2016

It’s been just a few hours since we returned from visiting artists in yixing and taking a peek behind the scenes in their workshops. We feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to collect great interviews with artists and document their processes! We will be processing and translating these as quickly as we can over the next few weeks, but we couldn’t resist sharing a few quick photos with everyone right away.

The extreme care and amazing craftmanship that goes into every hand made yixing clay tea pot is incredible. We are beyond excited for the opportunity to share so many wonderful pieces in our small yixing collection.

It all begins with here: this beautiful rock is a giant chunk of Zhu Ni


Tea with Lai Xiaohong at her husband’s shop


Lai Xiahong’s huasband brews tea on a board full of his wife’s lovely work!



Lai Xiaohong fired this large Qing Shui Ni pot in a traditional wood-fired kiln, with truly remarkable results!



Above: Lai Xiaohong!

Right: Lai Xiaohong’s neighbor – Mrs. Zhang Ke Qiang – has been sculpting yixing pots with her husband for over thirty years! In this photo, her hands are still red with clay from a Xi Shi tea pot she had been working on, just moments before.





The China Yixing Museum is full of studios of some of the nation’s most accomplished yixing artists. Many work with their doors open, and anyone can come visit their studios to watch and learn from living masters of the craft.



The surrounding neighborhood is full of artists’ studios and galleries of all sizes and renown.



Artist Cao Ya Ling meticulously works to finish the spout of a new pot.


Down the hall, a student in a tiny studio works to smooth the body of a pot.



Artist Su Min watches over the work of her student.


Artist Zhao Jiang Hua works on the feet of a new shi piao pot.





Students in a larger studio work on tea pots at various stages of completion





Tools of the trade




Artist Pan Yang attaches a handle to a tea pot lid



Pan Yang prepares clay for the body of a tea pot


Pan Yang and his wife, Mrs. Zhu, each work on their on pots in their shared studio and gallery.





The body of a tea pot by Pan Yang is in progress



Pan Yang made these shi piao forms earlier in the day; tomorrow, he’ll be able to smooth the bodies by hand and add the handle, spout, and feet.




3 Responses to “Yixing Photo Journal”

  1. Stephen Breaux

    Amazing work! I love watching these yixing artists at work, especially while I’m attempting the same. Though, I’m nowhere near that level of craftsmanship. There is a lot to learn from these images. Truly remarkable, thanks for the glimpse! I would love to see more yixing making process in the future!

    • Lily Duckler

      Thank you, Stephen! We have so many more photos, interviews and videos of the process of making these tea pots from many different artists. It will probably be a few months to go through everything and share them properly, but I can’t wait to do so! These people are all so talented, and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to chat with them about their work for even a short amount of time.

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