NORTH NORWICH – The first thing you’ll notice upon entering the North Norwich home of Joann and Jim Crandall is the art. Every room bears evidence of the family’s artistic abilities, including acrylic paintings by their daughter and granddaughter. The majority of the pieces which hang on the walls and fill curio and china cabinets are painted porcelain. These are the work of Joann herself, and her mother Mary Hess, from whom she learned the craft.
“China painting is an art which was developed in the 1700’s,” explained Crandall, who is a member of the World China Painter’s Association.
The delicate tea cups, dishes, vases, tiles and other pieces of fine china which fill the home are adorned with intricate designs including floral, fruit and butterfly patterns. They are as far from knick-knacks as one can imagine, with each heirloom quality piece hand-painted with painstaking detail.
Each starts as a pristine piece of porcelain, Crandall explained, to which she transfers her design. She does hours of research to ensure the details are just right. Then she begins painting the piece, using paint she mixes herself from a dry powder and mineral oil. After each layer of paint is added, it is fired in a kiln at over 1,000 degrees. One piece may be fired as many as 4 or 5 times before it is completed.