“Mr. Shen’s Famous 1300 Only Porcelain” Maritime Capital Kaohsiung
by Peng Hsin-yi
“I am proud of my ability to dream big” says Shen Hen-rong (Henry Shen) founder of the Kaohsiung based artistic porcelain sculpture workshop 1300 Only Porcelain. Mr. Shen lived in the United States for almost 20 years and spent much of that time honing his skills in porcelain art.
At forty years old and mounting family pressures he decided to return to his Kaohsiung home on Cijin Island. He vowed he would save his best work for his homeland. Back in Taiwan, he established Cijin Kiln, a company that produced ceramics for architectural, interior decoration and public art. However despite his success, Mr. Shen strived to take the art form to a higher level. He began developing top-of-the-line porcelain pieces, with the goal to create the ultimate unique piece of sculptured art. For the next five years, he learned by trial and error and experimented with various techniques and materials. He finally got the breakthrough he had been looking for when he discovered the ideal technique of making three dimensional porcelain sculptures.
In July 2010, Mr. Shen opened 1300 Only Porcelain, driven by high standards he was now striving to take his brand to a high-end international porcelain market. Despite the fact the company was still in its infancy, Mr. Shen has already brought his work to an international exhibition. In September, he participated in the Maison & Objet Paris 2010 international trade show. Many experts and critics raved about his work. He was even compared to the 300 year old famous German porcelain designer, Meissen. His success was augmented with many orders the show facilitated.
1300’s signature sculptures are created with the use of 22 karat gold film on a white porcelain base. The gold brings out the magnificence of each piece. White is particularly demanding because you cannot use other materials or colors to hide any blemishes and one air bubble can ruin an entire sculpture. Every piece must be flawless.
Success requires an experienced artist with a solid technique. They must have an intricate understanding of the material, which can only be learned from first-hand experience. The artist must execute the process with exact precision and have an utmost dedication to the art form. His designs also aim to capture movement and expression, which deviate from the traditional bottom-heavy porcelain designs.
Master Ho Yongcheng is a 26 year veteran of the industry and considers his work with Mr. Shen as a challenge of a lifetime. Mr. Ho picks up a bat-shaped sculpture to illustrate his “unibody technique”. This technique requires very high temperatures to achieve such intricate art work. Master Ho states, “It is difficult to create such complicated porcelain pieces from one mold. Our kilns reach 1300 degrees, hotter than any other workshop whose kilns only reach 1240 to 1250 degrees.” Due to the fact the porcelain is molded at such high temperatures, it achieves a high degree translucency when put under display. It also appears to glow from the inside out and makes the sculpture appear like it was pieced together. The seam stands out harshly against the creamy surface.
Mr. Shen’s vision for 1300 Only Porcelain is to bring new looks and designs to as many international shows as possible. He also hopes to prove that 1300 Only Porcelain will continue to outdo itself. 1300 Only Porcelain is certainly on its way to realize it’s biggest dreams of creating new avenues for porcelain art and becoming the world’s top porcelain brand.