"I am very proud to play a part in the history of Thai celadon, and in the preservation of our Lanna (Northern Thai) identity - a strong and culturally rich inheritance from our ancestors."
"My name is Sorapon Dhupagupta, and my nickname is Pon. I was born in 1971 in Bangkok. I have always appreciated art and design, and I use to dream about becoming an architect. I studied hard during high school to that end but was unable to pursue that dream because, at that time, architecture was only taught at private universities and tuition fees were too high for me to afford. Much to my chagrin, I enrolled in a food science program, which was very popular, because demand in the Thai food sector was strong. After graduation, I actually worked in the water industry for seven years before I made the leap to something more artistic!
"Today, I have mastered ceramic techniques, and have participated in exhibits in and around Thailand.
"Some may believe that celadon is just another type of ceramic, but actually there is much more to it. Celadon is the aristocratic ancestor of the Oriental pottery family. It takes its name from two Sanskrit words: Sila, meaning stone, and Dhara, meaning green, thus celadon means "green stone." Celadon is a glaze first developed by potters from northern China, to duplicate their beloved opaque jade. This glaze is usually rather shiny, glassy, crackled, and much praised. But Thai potters used these very techniques to develop their own version of celadon, with inimitable design, finish and quality.
"Novica is helping us promote our celadon through the Internet. From our sales we hope to purchase new kilns and expand the workshop; that way we would be able to continue passing on our knowledge, as we reach out to other artists in the community, who will pass on this knowledge to the next generation. I am very proud to play a part in the history of Thai celadon, and in the preservation of our Lanna (Northern Thai) identity - a strong and culturally rich inheritance from our ancestors.
"No synthetics, commercial dyes, or clays are used in the production of our celadon. All the elements needed are from the earth and jungle. We use techniques similar to those used 700 years ago by the Chinese potters."
Sorapon follows the traditional procedure that begins when dried clay is pounded into powder and sifted, then mixed with water and milled. The moist clay is left to age for a short time in the open air, then it is kneaded to remove air bubbles and improve elasticity. The clay is then shaped and left to dry. Later it will be carved by hand and set to dry completely in the open air for about a week. It is finely polished with sand paper before placing it in a 800-degree Celsius kiln for five hours. After baking, the ceramic piece is dipped in a special celadon glaze made of ko or rokfa - wood ashes dissolved in water with iron oxide (for brown) or cobalt oxide (for blue). After the glazing, the ceramic is carefully fired for twelve hours at 1250 degrees Celsius. The cooling stage is careful and slow, taking about ten hours to complete, during which the ceramic contracts slightly, resulting in the unique crackled appearance of true celadon ceramics.