There are many crafts that have evolved into art, and the making of English fine bone china is one of them. Originally created solely for the aristocracy, beautifully designed plates and cups made of porcelain are now available to anyone with enough money to purchase them. New china sets have become a modern hallmark of wealth, but some sets have been passed down through generations. These are cherished by families, and many of the original designs are no longer being made. Families looking for replacements have to search for individual pieces online or contact a craftsmen to recreate a piece.
The process of creating porcelain pieces takes a slightly longer time than pottery, but it is well worth the effort. This is not a craft reserved only to specialists or artists, and it can be learned by those who already practice pottery as a hobby. The skills necessary to make beautiful porcelain pieces are the same as those of any pottery piece, and these include learning to throw clay on a wheel or shape it by hand. Shaping it by hand is just one way to create pieces, and the clay can also be made into slurry and molded.
The difference between pottery and porcelain is mainly in the components of the clay used to shape a piece. Porcelain requires a higher percentage of kaolin within the clay, and this ingredient gives the finished piece a smoother appearance. Crafters who want to create bone china pieces must add bone ash to the clay before shaping. The combination of clay with a higher amount of kaolin and bone ash is the basis of fine bone china, and it ensures the piece will have the translucence expected of fine porcelain.
A higher percentage of kaolin allows the piece to be fired at a higher temperature, and that is a necessary element to create porcelain rather than pottery. Firing porcelain pieces at a higher temperature does take more kiln time to heat and cool, and this is one reason it commands a higher price.