For Porzellanmanufaktur Nymphenburg, KRAM/WEISSHAAR designed a software program which charts the position of the stars in the sky above a customer’s place of birth on their date of birth, and outputs this data as a drawing to be hand-painted across a series of seven plates. As such, each edition of MY PRIVATE SKY is a unique copy, as individual as the buyer.
After an order has been placed, the MY PRIVATE SKY software calculates the position of the stars, planets and constellations above the customer’s place of birth, at their time of birth (accurate to the minute).
Based on the charts outputted by this software approximately 500 stars, planets, nebulae and galaxies are painted in 24 karat gold and platinum by hand by the master craftsmen at the Bavarian porcelain factory onto each set of plates.
The personal sky map is entirely different for every single customer. The singular arrangement of the celestial bodies forms a unique and unchangeable portrait of the owner.
In no other factory worldwide is porcelain still produced as at Nymphenburg – their methods have remained essentially unchanged since the factory was founded in 1747. All sets, figures and objects are made exclusively by hand in the finest porcelain.
The matchless purity and refinement of Nymphenburg porcelain begins with a mixture of kaolin, feldspar, quartz and other additions of the highest quality. The exact recipe for this mixture, the so-called porcelain mass, is a well-guarded secret. It takes three years from the first mixing of the porcelain mass until the raw materials are ready for production. During this time the porcelain mass is cured in the cellars of the factory and processed in the mass mill in order to remove any air formed during the ripening process, as well as any potential impurities.
Following curing, each plate of a MY PRIVATE SKY edition is hand-thrown on a turning wheel, as is the tradition at Nymphenburg. Under the master craftsman's fingers, the porcelain mass transforms from a lump of material into a filigree plate. After turning, each piece is marked with the Nymphenburg stamp and the initials of the thrower – and for MY PRIVATE SKY, a stamp with Kram/Weisshaar’s intials. Afterwards each plate is dried in its own plaster mould and hardened in the first firing at 50 degrees celcius. The final coup de grace is carried out in the Master Painters' workshop of the factory. Here the plates are painted according to the precise and unique working drawings given to the painters.
The porcelain painters transfer the customer’s personal skymap with uttermost precision by free hand onto a set of seven plates. It takes 10 years of constant training for a porcelain painter to perfect his skills to reach the level of Master Painter. All colour gradations needed are mixed by the porcelain painter himself using pigments produced by the laboratory at Nymphenburg.
For MY PRIVATE SKY, the absolute noblest materials possible are used for painting: the Milky Way is painted in a delicate and subtle blue, and the constellations are exclusively painted in fine gold and platinum, which are the only materials to guarantee the highest possible quality and durability. Following painting, a last firing in the kilns causes the pigments to melt into the glazing. As the very final step, the gilded areas are polished with semi-precious tones — in this way the porcelain is given its final brilliant finish.
The gold pigments, dull and without glow after firing in the kiln, are polished to a brilliant shine.