Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Find more photos like this on Salt/Soda Firing
Here is a slide show of my recent work. I will be having a slide talk and then an opening on May 29th at the Pottery Workshop here in Jingdezhen. PWS is a great place to meet new foreign artist coming into Jingdezhen. We usually go there every friday night to listen to a lecture. Below is my artist statement of my new work, enjoy!
After being in China for nine months, I have made it an effort to combine Chinese architecture, my Christian faith, and culture into my ceramics. The pagoda temples have been my main inspiration and study in China after visiting different cultural areas in Jiangxi and Anhui Provinces. The architecture has provided me with a framework to connect Chinese sensibilities of design in various ways in my work. This is further expressed through the architectural elements found in Chinese architecture's repetition, angular roofs, overhangs, and overall design. Creating vessel-oriented forms was one approach to connect my ideas. My temples are abstracts of my fusion of pagodas, western utilitarian ceramics, and Christian iconography/beliefs.
Construction of the large vessels is done on the wheel by making multiple parts and attaching them together in the leather hard stage. Creating many sections in this manner gives the process a more structural feel. Alterations to the forms from paddling and cutting away clay can also create a stronger form.
Revisiting the stacking of forms to build a new one was also a focus in this series. Using strictly functional forms to create a new structure gave a different element of design through repetition and scale. The ability to deconstruct the temple was another way to play with the forms and to express historical symbolism of the Christian faith.
Further study of Chinese architecture has also let me re-examine my western utilitarian forms. Finding new shapes on the wheel through alterations, cutting away clay, and moving the clay in various ways has been successful. Moving the clay upward through the rim to create an undulating ending point has given new movement to pieces. Squaring the form has been a new trend in this series. This has created a canvas to decorate on with thick slip or trailing glaze.
Making utilitarian ceramics, I feel, is the one art that satisfies all our needs, which is to create a functional interaction for use, display, and discourse. For me, this builds and strengthens relationships, which is completely satisfied through gatherings around food or everyday meals. It is a moment in time that we are thankful for the food and health that we have.
It is these parallels between faith and function that I am interested in. In the American culture we are losing these types of relationships steadily. People, state, and religion are following how culture dictates our lives. Churches and temples across the world still have a function and purpose for us. We as a people are becoming too independent and always want to change the ways for our own personal needs. Now as I am disconnected to what I know and sharing these interactions through a different culture, I feel more obligated to bring my culture back to the morals and values we have lost. Whether it is through visual interactions or everyday rituals, it is my desire to build relationships around beautiful objects that can make the viewers question the work or themselves.
Monday, May 4, 2009
With an extra day off for Labor Day, Kim and I decided to travel to Hangzhou. This old city has the largest freshwater lake in China. It was just a 5 hour bus ride to the lake and we were happy to visit here. Even though the lake was extremely crowded because of the holiday, we manage to get around the large lake the first day by bicycle. This was fun, but a whole story in itself! Buses, people, scooters, and other bikes made it a white knuckle experience.
We made it to many spots like the nursery, lotus view area, a pagoda, and other nooks and crannies. The second day we hiked through a tea village, which produces green tea. After enjoying a cup of tea and playing some Chinese card games we made it to a beautiful viewing area at the end of the trail.
We stayed in a dormitory style hostel with 3 to 8 other people. They ranged from Paris, Morocco, Austria, and America. Each night our roommates surprised us!!! A girl from America fell off of the top bunk! We plan on never staying in a dorm style room again. At least it only cost us 7 bucks each a night!
The great pic of Kim eating is actually at Papa John's! It was just like home, they even had the garlic-butter dipping sauce. We also ate at a Indian restaurant that had great Mango Lassi's and veggie curry. It was so nice to have a little of home. We also had some Starbucks our final morning before we headed for the bus station. Hope you all enjoy our pictures!
This are some pics we got from our friend Kerrie. You can see the light show they do in HK each night! Our show went well and will be finished in a couple weeks. We have not heard if anything sold yet, so we will see. It was good to get work setup in a different space here. This has really lead me into what I want to make next, especially for making work for galleries and not for the table. I am going to give a slide lecture at the end of the month and then a show of my recent work. I will be firing the soda kiln at the end of the month.