Bone Deep

CSM Philippines brings a new perspective to handmade bone china

Does the phrase “bone china” bring to mind visions of ancient ladies sipping tea from delicate cups? Not at CSM Philippines. This artisan-driven maker of bone china tableware and accessories sees uniquely modern possibilities for the 260+-year-old combination of fine clay and bone ash. Their sometimes angular and often colorful collections will show off their fresh ideas for the medium at Artisan Resource @ NY NOW this August.

Englishman Thomas Frye first experimented with combinations of clay and bone ash in 1748, but not until over twenty years later, in the hands of master potter Josiah Spode, did bone china achieve commercial success. Many years later, it is still highly valued for its whiteness and translucency, as well as its strength and durability.

CSM takes advantage of bone china’s strength with complex moulds whose twists and turn, or facets and corners, would be hard to match in other ceramic media. CSM also exploits the opportunities opened by bone china’s pure color: it is the foundation for a range of beautiful glazes from restful whites and celadons to high-energy pastels.

CSM president Clemente S. Manrique leads his group of 200 artisans by staying ahead of his global competition. “We draw on Filipino craftsmanship, ingenuity and design,” he says. Proof of his success, he comments wryly, “is found in how we can proudly (and sometimes sadly) say that we are seen by competitors at both ends of the market as source of inspiration and new design.”

“The unique character of bone china creates a sort of mystical excitement in us,” Manrique relays with passion, “which we channel into the design and making of each piece. Our artisans, as well as our customers, feel it too: we are not making copies or imitations, but rather something original. Something truly worth making.”

Visit the CSM Philippines booth at Artisan Resource @ NY Now, August 16-19, 2015, at NYC’s Javits Center. For more information, see www.csmphilippines.com

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