Chiu Kee Porcelain
Timeline: Since 1979
Business Type: Pottery and Porcelain Production
Products: Hand painted porcelain plates
Address: Wong On Street, Ping Chau
The outlying islands were once thriving industrial powerhouses in the 1970s and 1980s. Many were attracted by the lower rent and natural resources on the islands and set up their business there. Leather factory, needle factory, light bulb factory and lime kiln could all be found in Peng Chau during its golden era. With the decline of the industries, empty sites are what being left on the island. Chiu Kee Porcelain is one of the few workshops that are still running today.
The owner, Master Lam, has a life full of stories. He came to Hong Kong from the village to learn the skills of porcelain painting. After two years of apprenticeship, Mr. Lam became a porcelain painter. His footsteps were all over Hong Kong, from Shau Kei Wan to Sham Shui Po. Later, he was introduced by a friend to teach porcelain painting in factories in Singapore and Macau. In 1973, his old employer invited him back to Hong Kong. He then continued his porcelain craftsmanship on the island of Peng Chau. In 1976, Master Lam established Chiu Kee Porcelain with his wife. In the beginning, he had to borrow utensils from his counterparts to fire plates but his business was getting better and better. “During the heyday in 1979, I had 4 or 5 production workshops in Peng Chau with more than 30 staff. My products could be found in touristic districts such as Tsim Sha Tsui and Stanley,” Master Lam told us. Yet, the influx of mainland goods in the 1980s deeply affected the business of Chiu Kee. Master Lam needed to take other jobs outside to supplement family income. He had been mason, engaged in scaffolding and construction etc. During that period, Mrs. Lam continued to paint porcelain and take care of the business. Later, Master Lam retired. Not until 2012 that he has started to paint porcelain again.
Chiu Kee is still producing hand painted porcelain wares but they can’t make you a living. Apart from high rent, raw materials from the mainland are more expensive than before. Therefore, Master and Mrs. Lam are organizing workshops for interested parties to increase income. People can experience and have fun in making their own porcelain plates to bring home. The workshops also help passing on the memory of this sunset industry to the public.
The Master of porcelain painting, Mr. Lam, is concentrating on painting.
The final product of porcelain.