Thursday, October 9, 2008

The studio pup

This is Saggar, the studio pup. He can't get enough attention from everyone and is very jealous of the rabbit. He is still a pup and needs a bit more training but is coming along. Below he is looking to his big protectors Brad and Mike during a terrible thunderstorm. His "tough dog" image is ruined every time it thunderstorms or fireworks go off...poor guy.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Mission: Cooking Spaghetti in China

First Donna and I went to Wal-Mart because surely they would have all the ingredients to make the sauce...unfortunately they didn't have any basil, oregano, parsley, or other Italian spices! So then we began our daylong journey for any spices that might taste good. Next we went to the pizza shop because they must know what these spices were and where to get them....but instead they had never heard of Basil. They sent us down the street to another shopping plaza, where we were again unsuccessful. So we headed back to school with noodles and cucumber. Finally we had to forget about finding the spices and make sure we could get plenty of tomatoes. We walked up to the local market, which is outside similar to a farmers market. We went from station to station buying out every good and ripe tomato they had available. I am pretty certain they thought we were a little strange. We also picked up some onion and mushrooms, and some other spice we thought might resemble parsley. Upon returning we prepared the entire meal from scratch, simmering the tomatoes for about 3-4 hours. The gatekeeper kept coming in to see what was going on. When we showed him what we were making he would make a face like he had just eaten the most disgusting thing in the world. I kept saying "Italiee Fan" (Italian Meal). I wasn't able to convince him to try this meal; he thought the tomatoes cooked way too long. However, everyone else seemed to enjoy the meal despite it missing the spices!

Random Pictures

CHEESE and Korean BBQ. Kerrie (a fellow English Teacher) and I cleaning out the studio on a VERY VERY VERY hot and humid day. We met some interesting people who knew how to paint in the traditional Chinese style. Brad also tried his hand at painting.

New Soda Kiln

This is Jack the kiln builder! He is an awesome worker. He worked two weeks straight getting this kiln up. He would not let me help him very much. Here are some shots of the kiln and us.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Brad's Work

This is the first series of work I have created here. Everything was fired in the wood kiln. The clay I was using is tianbao and some tianbao and porcelain mixed together. The tianbao is a very high iron clay giving it this reddish brown to brown color. The clay is very different than what I am used to working with and I have enjoyed throwing with it and trying to loosen up my style some. I have also incorporated different white slips and creating line and depth with them. Some quick craving also has been new for me and also the altering of the base to form square shapes and ongulating rims. Our firing got a little to hot on the top for this clay and many pieces were over fired causing many different problems. These were the few that survived the 14 hour firing and I am pretty happy with them. Next we will fire the new soda gas kiln and make many test with clay and glaze to achieve more colors and textures with the new materials here.
What is exciting and challenging is that the artists here primarily only use the pure, white porcelain clay. Some potters and sculptors use the high iron clays to make water vessels and other very functional forms from the clay. We are trying to develop a high fire stoneware clay and glazes from the clay to achieve a broad range of surface and color. Essentially, a more Western approach to the material and curiosity of what can be done.

Production Pots

This pots are from the international production studio here. We have master throwers, decorators, and glazers who complete these pieces and give demos to the students. These pots are the traditional blue and white decoartions that made Jingdezhen famous more than 1,000 years ago during the Qing Dynasty. The technique of the decorator and his use of the brush is amazing. Here you can see the before and after images of the pots. I got a good image with the burners on just before the door was closed on the kiln.