This spring I was invited to my Undergraduate Alma mater, the University of Southern Maine, for a week long visiting artist workshop. Being back brought some great memories from my time there and it was a delight to visit with my former professors. One aspect of my visit was a public lecture, which was recorded and uploaded on YouTube, linked above. I worked with the advance ceramics class to build and fire a paper kiln. I was also intervened by WMPG, a local radio station. You can hear the interview here Rounding out the rest of my week was meeting with classes for critiques, Demonstrations, and a talk about working as a professional artist.
Watch out at your local newsstands for Ceramics TECHNICAL No. 36 2013. It features an article I wrote about the Utilitarian Clay VI symposium, held at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts on 19 -22 of September 2012. Here is a little sample from the article to entice your curiosity:
“Its impressive 20 years of history provide us a glimpse into this field: where it has gone in recent years and, we hope, insight into its future. Whereas veteran and mid-career artists dominated prior symposiums, the focus this year was on notable emerging ceramics artists. This young group is indicative of how academically driven our field has become. All but one presenter earned his or her MFA through the American university system. How has this academic training affected the course of the utilitarian object? Certainly, individual craftsmanship has risen to extraordinary levels. Current academically trained practitioners have an extensive technical tool belt at their disposal, which they utilize to create their individually styled work. The endless variety of form, surface, texture and techniques was evident in the work and demonstrations by the presenters.”
Going through my pile of mail that accumulated while I was in China, I found the most recent issue of the Log Book, #52 which features my 3rd piece of published writing. The Log Book is a great little Journal dedicated to Wood Firing that is Published 4 time a year. For this issue I wrote a mostly historical piece about the Anamaga at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. From what I could find during my research, this anagama was the second one built in the US, the first being the Peters Vally Anagama, built only the year before.
My last full day in Beijing I went to the Forbidden City, a massively impressive compound. Later that night we all went to a circus like performance before having a delicious farewell dinner. Feels good to be home after traveling for about 23 hours yesterday. China was an amazing trip, and it will certainly leave a lasting impression on me. It will take a while to decompress and really comprehend everything that I experience over the last two months. I fell very fortunate to have experience all this with some wonderful people who I look forward to reminiscing with in the future.
Today we spent the morning at a Buddhist Temple, and a home to the Dali Lama when he is in Beijing. Pretty amazing place and the snow added to the ambiance. Got some street food for lunch and then headed over to the well know art district, 798. Once a thriving artist studio community, it has now been mostly replace by galleries and coffee shops. The best art there was all the graffiti on the walls.
Got up today at 6am to travel to a section of the Great Wall, located in Badaling, about 50 kilometers outside of the city of Beijing. Another long day of travel that included both the subway and train. This section of the wall is a bit more remote and rugged, but still rater touristy with vendors on the wall trying to sell you all kinds of trinkets. Some pretty amazing views from the wall, and very cold.
I’ve been lock out of my website for a few days. The Chinese government isn’t so keen on information sharing. The last five days was spent in the city of Xi’an, which was the capital city of China for most of it’s Dynasties. This was the eastern end of the silk road and located in Shaanxi Province, which has an area of 205,800 square kilometers and a population of 37 million people. Our five days in Xi’an where packet with activities including a trip to see the terra-cotta warriors, the Xi’an history museum, a night trip the the big goose pagoda too see the fountain show, and a trip out to the Fule International Ceramics Museum and residency center. Also a half day walking on the fortified wall that surrounds the inner city. There was also many nights of exploring the open street markets. Arrived in Beijing, the current capital, today after traveling by taxi, Plane, and Bus.
Tuesday we drove out to Yaoli for the day. We enjoyed a leisurely hike through the forest too the top of a mountain where they grow tea. The afternoon was spent exploring a couple small villages in the area. The river side village used to be the primary port for all the Kaolin that was mined in the mountain and then sent to the factories in Jingdezhen.
On Monday night we had a belayed thanksgiving dinner. Since these types of food are not typically made in China, there was some substitutions and improvisation that happened in order to make our feast. Including Mash potatoes in a walk, and stuffed chicken instead of turkey. In the end we had a spectacular meal, with most of the credit going to Lacey. We where joined bye many of the volunteers and staff that work at the pottery workshop.
This past friday our Exhibition “98 Days in China” opened in the c2 gallery at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen China. A packed opening with many of the local artisans, students, and friends coming out to support us. To celebrate all the hard work that went into the exhibition we all went out to K-TV(Karaoke) after the reception. In China Karaoke is huge, and they have establishments where you can rent a room with your friends to have your own private Karaoke party. Lots a fun!!