I call myself a porcelain artist because I specialise in fine porcelain, but I answer to various other descriptions too: jeweller, designer, ceramic artist, craftsperson — and china painter.
My china painting page begins with this statement:
I do all my china painting, or porcelain painting, from original designs, most of which I now compose on the computer.
Why do I stress this? Because it is important — not the fact that I design on the computer, but that I compose all my own designs. Originality, or lack of it, is often the main reason given when people describe china painting as craft, not art.
So what do I believe — is china painting really art, or craft? I would prefer not to use either definition, because I believe that quality and originality should decide whether something is really art or craft.
If forced to choose, however, I describe my china painting as fine art, my porcelain jewellery as craft — yet both are my unique creations, original in design and finished with the same techniques and materials. The china painting canvas may be larger, but the creative inspiration is the same.
The fact that china painting is called fine art in some countries, and craft in others, show how artificial this division really is. It is echoed in competitions too, where it is sometimes classed in one category, and sometimes in the other. Regardless of what artificial status it is assigned, however, I take pride in my work, and guarantee its quality and originality.