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The hand

Quality is at the heart of Bernardaud’s culture, aspirations and mission. It imposes exacting standards and commitment at every step of a long manufacturing process that is governed by the sure hand of the craftsman. The subject of quality is also thoroughly covered by experienced artisans when transmitting porcelain techniques and skills to the younger generation.

The hand

At the Bernardaud factory, each fine porcelain object goes through multiple steps involving many skills and expertise, each relying on the sure hand of the craftsperson. Every artisan (whether modeler, colorist, finisher or transfer decorator) draws, shapes, enamels, assembles, decorates or inspects by hand and relies heavily on the senses, especially sight and touch, but also the sense of hearing. The artisan strikes the cup lightly and listens to it resonate to see if a cup meets house quality standards or has a crack. Its craftsmen spend nearly one-quarter of their time checking that individual pieces meet the company’s quality criteria. This is vital : each step depends on the previous one and must be executed perfectly in preparation for the next.

Quality time

One way to measure the quality of a piece of porcelain is to consider the sum of incompressible blocks of time needed to make, dry and fire it. For instance, it takes one week and more than fifty artisans to complete a teapot. While the production side continues to reap the benefits of technical progress and new technology, the time needed for some operations has remained constant for the last fifty years. This translates into a very high level of quality. Experienced craftsmen are also able to improve their techniques, pushing the limits of their raw material. For instance, the challenge for a glazer is to adapt a technique to new shapes while meeting house quality requirements. When artisans truly master their technique, the line of a vase, the design of a bowl or the decoration of a plate become things of beauty.