It might seem blasphemous that Hans Tan, the 32-year-old designer behind Singapore’s Hans Tan Studio, takes a sandblaster to highly collectible Nonyaware pottery. But Tan’s limited edition Spotted Nyonya collection is his reinterpretation of the traditional tableware. “It’s my way of keeping the past relevant,” he says. Here’s how he connects the dots.
Peranakans—the descendants of Chinese nobles who migrated to the straits of Malacca in the late 16th century— had specific sets of crockery for special occasions. Hans Tan buys antique pieces from Singapore’s Thow Kwang Dragon Kiln Village.
Tan washes and dries each vessel to prep the surface before overlaying it with synthetic dot stickers. He applies each sticker by hand to ensure the dots are perfectly spaced. A large vessel may be covered in more than 300 dots.
Tan sandblasts each vessel with aluminum oxide, which removes the glaze from areas not covered by the dots, and exposes the white bisque porcelain underneath.
For the final step, Tan removes each dot using tweezers. It can take up to eight hours to take off the dots on such vessels as katamaus, pictured. In the end, Tan reveals a colorful polka-dot motif against the white background.
From $770. farm.sg. This appeared in the May/June 2012 issue.