Over the past few days we have had the pleasure of watching a master coil builder create gigantic pots with ease and skill that comes from his 50 years of experience. It’s always inspiring to see the amazing things we can do with clay and to watch people who know so much more than we do in their element. Maybe when I’m 70 I can be like him!
Beauty is a powerful force with the ability to press people into idealized forms. It also has the power to destroy by crushing those who subscribe too deeply to its standards under the pressure to be perfect. The above piece seeks to express this concept.
Hangzhou is such a beautiful place. As I looked across Xihu (West lake) in the evening I saw warmly glowing pagodas to my right and left as a magnificent fountain spouted in front of me. Picturesque mountains in the distance outlined this wonderful scene.
The exhibition that we attended was also really cool. We saw work from nearly every creative field including industrial design, painting, jewelry, and of course ceramics. It was truly an honor to be there, but now I am ready to be back in the studio with new inspiration!
Also, a Chinese TV station doing a special on ceramics interviewed me as I demonstrated throwing techniques, so there you go…I’m famous.
Tomorrow I am off to Hangzhou, a city that Marco Polo once described as “the finest and most splendid city in the world.” While that was quite a long time ago, I still can’t wait to experience it’s famed beauty and see all of the work that artists have prepared for the upcoming exhibition!
Today was a great day. I finished a vase, began a series of shelled creatures, and was selected as one of two students from our group to attend an exhibition in Hangzhou. I think I’m doing something right.
Yixing was a interesting city filled with a variety of its traditional teapots. Yixing teapots are usually small and made of one of five traditional colors of clay including yellow, green, blue, purple, and brown. Some are as simple as a round body with a small spout and thin handle, while others take forms that replicate the natural world in intricate detail. It was amazing to have the opportunity to watch master craftsmen construct these fascinating objects. Several of them also, invited us to have tea as we visited each of their workshops.