I wanted to get something locally-made. I know there is some manufacturing going on in Yingge, but the stuff sold on the "Old Street" there are generally mass-market imports from China: nothing wrong with that, but I was hoping for something from Taiwan and more personalized if within my budget. I was also hoping to buy directly from a manufacturer, not a reseller.
Not sure where to start looking, I began by going to the website of the government-run Ceramics Museum. Apparently they have some program to promote the local products and they even hand some awards to what they think best designs are. The website has a manufacturer contact for each recognized design, but (traditionally for Taiwanese websites) it's a nuisance to browse through. I ended up compiling the list of all addresses into a list I could take with me for a walk-around. Here it is below, categorized into "large" and "small" outfits, and then by location:
Teaware makers mentioned on the Yingge brand website
Note: Strictly speaking, this is about ceramics in general; some of them might not have teaware (although it's unlikely). The list might not be accurate, and I wouldn't know as I haven't visited most of these places in the end (see below for what I ended up with). Some of the small shops might not even have storefronts. Check with Google Street View perhaps or try to look them up on Facebook with their e-mail or phone number. Addresses in Chinese only to reduce clutter, but if you paste them into Google, it will transliterate them into pinyin. Also be aware that some of the large companies still seem to manufacture in China, but you can always ask.
Small shops (Sorted by location)
- Code: Select all
## Address Name Phone E-mail
-- Walking Distance from Train Station --
01 新北市鶯歌區文化路159號 新北市東鶯社區發展協會 02-26701107 firstname.lastname@example.org
02 新北市鶯歌區文化路206號 衣谷陶燒 02-26789167 email@example.com
03 新北市鶯歌區文化路253號 寶象陶瓷藝術坊 02-26220970
04 新北市鶯歌區文化路256巷7號 葉敏祥 祥億陶瓷社 02-26797430 firstname.lastname@example.org
05 新北市鶯歌區文化路324巷8弄3衕4之6號 陶采文藝工作室 0931-072946
06 新北市鶯歌區文化路351號 六籽窯 02-26780480 email@example.com
07 新北市鶯歌區文化路407號之1 夏天工作室 02-26702569 firstname.lastname@example.org
08 新北市鶯歌區中正二路41號 新國藝陶坊 02-26793549
09 新北市鶯歌區尖山埔路15號 風清藝術創意工坊 02-26788155 email@example.com
10 新北市鶯歌區尖山路168巷20號 自在陶房 02-86775311 firstname.lastname@example.org
11 新北市鶯歌區尖山路174巷35弄20衖5號 家傳陶藝 02-86773402 email@example.com
12 新北市鶯歌區尖山路174巷35弄31號 禎美藝術陶瓷工作室 02-86775102 firstname.lastname@example.org
13 新北市鶯歌區育英街65-1號 嘉峰陶瓷藝術 02-26705972 email@example.com
14 新北市鶯歌區育賢街23號 良宏窯業廠 02-26796097 firstname.lastname@example.org
15 新北市鶯歌區中正一路379號 傑作陶藝 02-26796166 email@example.com
-- Farther from Train Station --
16 新北市鶯歌區三鶯路15號3樓 02-26710259 firstname.lastname@example.org
17 新北市鶯歌區中正三路156巷45號 筌發企業有限公司 02-26787388 email@example.com
18 新北市鶯歌區中正三路194巷42號 金昌陶瓷 02-26797879 firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Not in Yingge --
19 新北市三峽區民族街78巷12號4樓 連生陶作 02-26722330 email@example.com
20 新北市樹林區柑園街二段386巷3號 兩文陶藝工作室 02-26808066 firstname.lastname@example.org
21 桃園市慈文路358號 乾唐軒美術工藝 03-3559201 email@example.com
Larger companies (Sorted from most to least interesting in my subjective view)
22 陶作坊 Lin's Ceramics Good quality, somewhat limited design, some items expensive.
23 醇品雅集 Chun Ping Interesting design but only one shop and by appointment, probably expensive.
24 台灣宜龍 Eilong A lot of choice, not expensive, but does not seem like very good quality.
25 新太源 Shin Tay Yuan Not expensive, mass-market.
For reference, the other three I did not find interesting after a casual skim through their websites: 26 乾唐軒, 27 安達窯, 28 吉洲窯.
The museum shop
The Ceramics Museum has a shop that stocks a selection of the local products. This might be a good place to look around, particularly if you're short on time. The choice is much more than what you can see on their website.
Address: 新北市鶯歌區文化路200號 #200 Wenhua Rd, Xinbei-Yingge
What I ended up with
I decided to order most of the teaware from the first shop I walked into at the beginning of my trip (#01 on my list, as it is directly adjacent to the train station) as I happened to really like their floral-motif design. Thus, I didn't really have the chance to put the list I prepared above into much use. This is actually a family company run by the mother, Guan Yuegui (官月桂) and her son, Zeng Xiangxuan (曾祥軒), and the stuff I bought is glossy porcelain (瓷) hand-painted by her. There are some designs readily available for purchase, but the stuff I got was made-to-order, which took about two weeks to complete. For a set of a pitcher (茶海), three drinking cups (品茗杯) and three matching scenting cups (聞香杯) I paid in the range of 1,500 TWD, which I consider a very reasonable price.
For the teapot (茶壺), I looked at another designer who works with woodfire (柴燒). Unlike the traditional porcelain or clay, the design is rough, somewhat minimalistic. I liked his products, but being in the range of 8,000-9,000 TWD for just the teapot, his prices were far higher than what I was willing to spend (he is not on the list above, but I can share his contact details if anyone is interested -- definitely worth considering, if you're on a different budget). By the way, my impression is that woodfire seems to be "fashionable" now, and anything made of it generally carries a higher price tag than similar products made of either porcelain or clay -- not sure if this is warranted by manufacturing costs, maybe someone can shed some light on this.
Eventually, I ended getting a red-clay teapot at the museum shop. This is actually a design by Wang Liangwen (王兩文), who has 30+ years of experience with ceramics and mostly teaches others now -- you can see him making the teapot in a YouTube video (#20 on the list, but don't go there -- no shop at that address). The teapot I bought is called a "water-balancing" one (水平～), which means if you immerse it in water it should float on the surface. The price was 2,200 TWD and it came as a set with two ugly (in my opinion) teacups, that look more like egg cups. Some other, non-floating but still locally-made teapots were available for 1,200 TWD. With a higher budget you can perhaps go for a hand-made teapot (the one I got is molded).
Finally, for the accessories (mostly the bamboo/wooden stuff) I went for Lin's Ceramics (#22), as their tea tray (茶盤, 茶池) prices seem reasonable at 900 TWD or 1,400 TWD for the two most-common sizes (actually, I still feel this mass-made product should be way cheaper, but the competition prices these trays even higher at 2,000-3,000 TWD). Some other stuff such as teacup saucers (茶托) I got from another shop called Shing Hua that generally sells tea, as their price was 3×100 TWD vs 3×200 TWD for Lin's and they are conveniently located next to it in the Yongkang St area (MRT Dongmen). Seems the price spreads on these accessories can be huge and, to the extent that I know of, not really warranted by any actual differences in quality.
Wow, this came out much longer than I expected. Not really sure this is the best place to put it, mods please feel free to move it (of course). Hopefully the above ruminations will be useful to someone in the future.