I’m back and all settled on New York soil after a compelling and education trip to the far East. China! The route was Beijing > Jingdezhen > Yichang (3 Gorges Damn) > Chengdu > Xian (terracotta warriors) > Beijing. The trip was prompted by critiques of the graduating student work at the Central Academy of Fine Arts- City Design School, then continued on to be a total of 21 days. I loved the food. I was so glad to have met, through clay connections and ramdom meetings, so many helpful people along the way.
The ceramics I saw were amazing. Jingdezhen- the birthplace of porcelain is a small city with big production. I mostly saw the smaller workshop-type factories which typically consist of a garage-like space and a couple of artisans specializing in one step of the making or decorating process. A surprise to me was how the larger pots were transported from shop to shop to elsewhere. Carted, biked, stacked, pulled, pushed, carried, every possible way maneuvering through tight streets with lots more pots and people.
Jingdezhen has some great oppertunities for foreign artists to come and work. Sanbao ceramics residency in the hills about 10 minutes drive out of the city and The Pottery Workshop right inside the gate. I met some great people at The Pottery Workshop who more or less adopted me as an instant friend for a couple of days- Roxanne Jackson who was at the Workshop through an NCECA opportunity and who teaches at State University of New York at Oswego! And Eric Kao, Deputy Director of the Jingdezhen location. Thank you!
The other ceramics-based highlight was in Xian, where hundreds of Terracotta Warriors have been unearthed. This was an amazing “wonder of the world” to see in person and is completely unbelievable that such a massive undertaking ever took place. There was a beautiful feature of the warriors in the recent issue of National Geographic.