Even though it was not the first place we visited, I'll start with the pottery town of Jingdezhen (it is a city really of over 200,000 people). It was dusty, dirty, crowded, noisy, but absolutely fascinating. There was confusion as we arrived and found the residency not what we expected - a lot got lost in translation, but mostly we sorted it out thanks to the wonderful Eamonn who tried to sort out problems, like the beds being aboard with no mattress (well he found mattresses for us, but they were straw mattresses, so we had 3 weeks on very hard beds!), he kept the bottle of drinking water full for us, and organised a wonderful restaurant that served much lighter food (less oil, and less bones) that the normal food eaten in this region. The food was excellent.
For the ceramics artist Jingdezhen was a never ending maze of new pottery experiences, new ideas, new materials, and exhibitions. It was all about ceramics, and definitely all about the glazes. There are small pottery factories that each produce a different stage of the work - the mould maker, the painter, the glazer, the carver, and the numerous public kilns all around the city. There are streets that sell decals, kiln parts and equipment, glazes, tools, and of course pots. The Chinese love the BIG pots, very big pots, and there is a focus on this production - more about the big pot factory later. It was interesting that most of the work produced is sold within China, the demand is so big, but the more contemporary Chinese artists have trouble selling their work. Some of the contemporary art was excellent - will post those photos later.
I'm back in the studio with some new materials, lots of new tools, and brimming with ideas. It's good to be home!
So a few photos around Jingdezhen - there will be more to follow, and there are more on my Picasa site (which I am still uploading so all the photos are not there yet, but I have posted Shanghai and Beijing) -
Typical street scene in pottery suburbs in Jingdezhen. Pots being transported by handcart to the public kilns.
Pots drying on a roof - pots everywhere.
Small pottery factories around Jingdezhen
Traditional painted work - painted with Qin Hua blue and stains. The pots are fired to 1310deg c.
Turning the pots in a small pottery factory in Jingdezhen - the pots are turned at bone dry stage as the clay is very fragile when leather hard.
The Year of the Dragon - dragon made from hundreds of ceramics bowls. People's Square in Jingdezhen.
Lamp posts are ceramics - a different design in each street.
Lovely display of traditionally painted work. The craftsmanship is amazing.
Typical meal in Jingdezhen - the food in quite heavy usually - will post about the food later!
So next episode next week.