Tinctoria: Journey to ‘White Gold’


‘Each color lives by its mysterious life’

 Wassily Kandinsky


My current interest is to investigate how the light of colour can be visualised the language of ceramics. During my residency in the Künstlerhaus Stadttöpferei Neumünster for four weeks,  I have selected ‘White’ colour as a starting point: white as the centre of light from RGB (Three primary colour of light) and as the meaning of white porcelain. In fact, Germany (Meissen) was the first country to invent the hard-paste porcelain in Europe. Porcelain was, once, called ‘White Gold’ in the eighteenth century because of the high price and a luxurious item of that day. Having this in mind, I also intended to apply local culture and my experience during the residency towards the colour.

Tinctoria is a Latin word meaning used for dyeing or staining. When I visited the Museum Tuch und Technik, I was impressed by Neumünster’s local history of textile and weaving and how they were made by hand. Among the collection, there was a small section for explaining some natural plants for dyeing.


Plants for Dyeing

I used five different plants for dying from the museum collection and they were carved on my tiles.

Reseda Tinctoria, also known as ‘Dyer’s Rocket’ which makes yellow.

Indigofera Tinctoria which plant makes natural indigo.

Rubia Tinctoria also is known as a madder which plant can make natural red.

Carthamus Tinctoria(Safflower) for red & orange.

Isatis Tinctoria (Waid) for blue.



Weaving is like an orchestra. Each element has its own role but harmonised together. For example, in order to colour the fabric, there are a lot of steps with a good understanding of the material. Also, it starts from a small flower, then one thread is interwoven to another, and finally it makes a different dimension. If someone makes a scarf with it, it becomes a three-dimensional object.

Stacking tiles work the means of weaving in my work. By stacking one thing on top of another, it creates something else. I feel that each colour is harmonised together and creates ‘white light’ at the end in my work.


Wassily Kandinsky said

“ White, therefore, has this harmony of silence, which works upon us negatively, like many pauses in music that break temporarily the melody. It is not a dead silence, but one pregnant with possibilities. White has the appeal of the nothingness that is before birth, of the world in the ice age.”


This is my journey to seek for ‘light’.