Bestselling author and artist Edmund de Waal speaks in relation to his new book, The White Road, an intimate narrative history of porcelain structured around five journeys through landscapes where porcelain was dreamed about, fired, refined, collected, and coveted.
A potter who has been working with porcelain for more than 40 years, de Waal describes in The White Road how he set out on five journeys to places that would help him understand the clay's mysterious allure. From his studio in London, he starts by traveling to three "white hills" - sites in China, Germany and England that are key to porcelain's creation. But his search eventually takes him around the globe and reveals more than a history of cups and figurines; rather, he is forced to confront some of the darkest moments of twentieth-century history.
Part memoir, part history, part detective story, The White Road chronicles a global obsession with alchemy, art, wealth, craft, and purity. In a sweeping yet intimate style that recalls The Hare with the Amber Eyes, de Waal gives us a singular understanding of "the spectrum of porcelain" and the mapping of desire.