Thursday, October 29, 2009

Christmas time comes early 10/25/09

sorry this post is so out of order, but it needed a bit of cleaning up.

TIme here is getting short.  I have been trying to put in more and more time in the studio.  I feel like I have so many ideas for work, but the days are flying by.  Today we opened the wood kiln.  The opening of kilns is so great, it is seemingly just like being a little kid and wanting so bad to open your presents.

As we took the door down, everyone was crowding around the kiln to get a sneak peek.

The kiln gods did a great job.

Over my glaze 10/29/09

One of the JCI professors came into the studio today to teach us overglaze techniques.  Hooray I have been wanting to learn how to do this for so long.  We learned how to mix the glazes, what materials to use, and how to best apply the paints.  After the demo I asked the teacher what he thought about art, ceramics, and being.  How about that for an answer.

The Cleanup Crew 10/28/09

Today was another pure and simple studio day.  We also cleaned up all of the kiln furniture from the wood firing.  While cleaning all the furniture I was thinking about just how great wood firing is - during the firing process and unloading of the kiln (cleaning is hard work!).

Also a little cup of mine, the underglaze decals here are so fun.

everyday is good for ceramics 10/27/09

I have been musing over creating a sculpture using the buddah's head, and today I traveled to the Sculpture Factory to find a mold.  During my search I found all of this other great stuff. 

- Huge piles of Clay.
- You mean someone actually makes these beads?
- Photo op with good ol' Chairman M.
- Firing shop.
- Pot shop

Big Wigs 10/26/09

Today was spent in the studio working.  The weather here has been really great, it gets a bit cold in the evenings, but the days are still hanging in the 70's.  Perfect for bike rides.
We had a few of the proffessors of Jingdezhen in the studio today as underglaze demonstrators for some big wigs from around the area.  Watching the professors show off their underglaze skills using Quing Huan (name of the traditional cobalt rich underglaze used here), was pretty sweet.  Aaron also decided to give the Quing Huan a whirl.   

Mountain Climbing 10/24/09

My friend Dan and I had a wonderful adventure this morning.  The city is surrounded by really beautiful mountains, and this morning Dan knocked on my door to see if I would like to try to climb one (walk up).  
Finding a suitable path was a path in itself, but we finally managed to come across a doable way and so we hiked on up, it was really beautiful.  When we got to the top the view of the city, and surrounding mountains was breath taking.  The fact that my camera ran out of battery power before we got to the top made it all the better.  Dan taught me an Iroquois thanks giving prayer, and so we gave thanks to creation for creation.  We then stood around on the mountain top philosophizing and being thankful.

The afternoon was all studio.  Some new projects are in the works which I am excited about.  We have started firing so I will hopefully have some work to show soon.

Wood Fire 10/23/09

We have been gearing up the last few days for a wood firing.  We stated candling the kiln last night.  I had second shift duty (6 am-12 noon).  Dan, Nick and I had a great time playing around with getting the wood ready, lightly stoking the kiln, drinking tons of tea, eating snacks, looking at ceramics magazines, talking art and laughing a lot.  

After my nap in the afternoon I bummed around the studio, had a bike ride, and in the evening I returned to the kiln to have a bit of community.

Long live wood firing.

Around a different part of town 10/22/09

The new camera lens is so sweet.  Today I went to a new part of the town (when I say town imagine a town with 1.4 million inhabitants) to take some photos.  Surprisingly this part of town is filled with ceramic stores.  I can not imagine how so many stores selling ceramics can stay open, but somebody must be buying all of this stuff.  When you are viewing the photos keep in mind that the items in the photos are just the tip of the berg, there are blocks and blocks of the same stuff all around.

I bumped into this quaint little stain store.  I thought the presentation was tops.

In one part of town there are stores dedicated to these large ceramic tile paintings.  When you think about it the answer is really pretty simple.  Who needs canvas when you have porcelain?

No Camera 10/21/09

Last night my camera lens called it quits, so today I traveled to the city center to search one out. After much bike riding and paying too much attention to store fronts instead of the road I found a camera store with the lens I needed, but (there seems to always be a but here) not until tomorrow - hooray.  

The above pictures are from tomorrow, I took them with my new snazzy lens.  I though it would be fun to take a few photos that did not entirely deal with ceramics. 

I saw this wood cutter on my way home.  His shop is on a side street.  The side streets here are so cool, because when you go down one it is like transporting back in time.  They are very "rough," everything has an old feel to it, and all the making methods are done simply and without modern technology (hence this man using a hand saw, oh the humanity of it).   

Tea Time 10/20/09

I awoke to a beautiful sunset this morning out the back window, there was a mist about the mountains, and I was happy for the coming day.  My camera lens is on its way out, so I have been having a hard time getting any photos taken.
I spent a large part of the day in the studio working, and then after dinner we had Chinese Ceramic history class in the dining room.  Our professor had us bring our Yixing teapots to class so that he could tell us about them, and also to teach us the traditional Chinese way of drinking tea.  We had a lot of fun sitting around tea drinking, learning, and talking.  Everything here is so mellow.  Hooray.