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Made in China, 2010, Clare Twomey © The Artist
Made in China, 2010, Clare Twomey © The Artist
 

Made in China comprises eighty tall red vases, identical in shape and size, which appear in the exhibition and elsewhere in the Museum. All were made and fired in the same kiln in Jingdezhen, China, the historic home of porcelain and one of the few places where the skills for such an undertaking still exist.

While seventy-nine of the vases were also decorated in the Chinese factory using gilt decals (transfers), one was shipped to the English ceramics centre of Stoke-on-Trent and decorated by Royal Crown Derby employees using 18-carat gold applied by hand. The price of gold and labour meant that it cost more to decorate one vase in the UK than seventy-nine vases in China.

This installation comments on the international ceramics industry and the differences in labour between East and West. Chinese manufacture is dominated by efficient assembly processes, but offers few opportunities for individual creativity. British manufacture is increasingly oriented to the luxury sector, which demands high skill, but employs few people.