July 1st 2007

For Nymphenburg Clemens Weisshaar & Reed Kram have crafted an elegant alchemy by combining the traditional techniques of porcelain manufacturing with a custom-programmed computer application of their own creation. The edition titled MY PRIVATE SKY consists of a set of 7 individually hand-painted plates, each of which is entirely unique and customised for the buyer.

Each set of MY PRIVATE SKY is a unique copy, as individual as the buyer. When placing an order the customer tells PORZELLAN MANUFAKTUR NYMPHENBURG his or her place, date, hour and minute of birth. Based on this information the computer application programmed by the designers calculates the stars and constellations that make up the heavenly firmament above this precise location at the specific point in time using extensive astronomical databases. The outcome of this data processing method, a detailed drawing inkjet-printed on a 100 x 115 cm large vellum; serves both as a 1:1 scale plan to be followed by the painters as well as the certificate of purchase.

With the MYPRIVATE SKY software the designers give the painter a digital companion, connecting the capabilities of modern software with the fine art of porcelain painting.
Approximately 500 stars, planets, nebulae and galaxies are then painted in 24 karat gold and platinum by hand by the master painters at PORZELLAN MANUFAKTUR NYMPHENBURG onto each set of plates. The personal sky map is entirely different for every single customer.
The singular arrangement of the celestial objects forms a unique and unchangeable portrait of the owner.

The MY PRIVATE SKY project began as the result of an in-depth analysis of the rich tradition and processes at PORZELLAN MANUFAKTUR NYMPHENBURG which since its foundation in 1747 has been owned by and under the stewardship of the Bavarian royal family, the house of Wittelsbach. This analysis prompted the designers to rethink the centuries-old processes of Nymphenburg in a contemporary context. The MY PRIVATE SKY software developed by Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram is a process oriented tool that transforms defined variables: latitude, longitude, altitude, date and time of birth parametrically to enable and enhance the specific calculation of a precise view. With this act the generic design drawing is replaced by a unique data set calculated for each single set of plates.

In no other manufactory worldwide is porcelain still produced as at Nymphenburg. The methods used by Nymphenburg have remained essentially unchanged since the 18th century. 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 manufactory and processed in the mass mill, removing any air formed during the ripening process as well as any potential impurities. Following curing, each plate of the 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. The unique plates of the MY PRIVATE SKY edition also receive the stamp of the designers. 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 manufactory. Here the plates are painted according to the precise and uniqueworking drawings given to the painters.

It takes 10 years of constant training for a porcelain painter to perfect his skills to reach the level of Master Painter. Very few people master this profession and even fewer as perfectly as the master painters at Nymphenburg. All colour gradations needed are mixed by the porcelain painter himself using pigments produced by the laboratory of Nymphenburg. For the MY PRIVATE SKY edition the absolute noblest materials possible are used for painting. The Milky Way is painted in a delicate and subtle blue. The star constellations are exclusively painted in fine gold and platinum, the only way to guarantee the highest possible quality and durability. Following painting, a last firing in the kilns at Nymphenburg causes the painted 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.

MY PRIVATE SKY is issued in an edition of 100 + 10 unique copies. Each set consists of seven plates, the working drawing printed on vellum and the hand-painted porcelain legend.
The entire set is shipped in a handmade poplar wood storage box. The drawing is rolled and boundwith a gilded 925 sterling silver ring.