Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Enjoying Tea at Sanbao

Monday Oct 29th:
Not a very eventful day as it rained all day, but it is lovely to listening to the rain at night.
The Carver came to visit this morning and bought some tools I had made for the Roma Workshop I am doing Nov 24-25th, so we had a nice visit.
After Lunch Roy went into town with Wenying to the China Bank.
Simone and her Partner (from Holland) are going to the Ceramic Fair in Shanghai and have been working very hard getting their work ready to be transported.
Spent most of the day crocheting, I am making a top for Wenying in Bamboo Cotton. (it is her Birthday gift from Roy & myself).
Wenying & Le Mai came to our room to say their goodbyes as they are leaving for Shanghai at 6am in the morning - so it was a bit sad.  Wenying tried the top on and she loves it so I will leave it here for her when we go on Sunday.  We had a long talk and a few tears and hope to see them again next year on the Tour.
Had a couple of glasses of PawPaw wine (yum) and then off to sleep.

Tues Evening Oct 23rd:
Roy, myself, Tom & Michelle travelled on the bus to the Hotel and we then caught a Taxi to Sanbao.
Mattresses still hard but we still had a good nights sleep.
Didn't do much on Wednesday - I just sat by the stream crocheting.  Ping wanted to know how to Crochet the top I was making so I spent the afternoon in the Shop with her showing her how to do the Motifs - next stage making the Yoke.  It was so much fun.

Thurs: 25th:  Our eldest Grandson turned 8 today.  Had breakfast and just vegged out in our room.  Roy has been writing Poetry and pretty good if I say so myself.
Had a long talk with Wenying about the Yunnan and Hunan tours and this is something Roy & I have wanted to do since 2008.  It looks really good so it might be on the cards for next year before or after Korea, but I will need at least 12 to fill the Bus. Wenying will send an Itinerary and I will check it out.  Wenying said not to leave it much longer as a lot of the Minority Villages are disappearing and it would be sad to miss out on this experience.  The whole Tour is organised by Wenying and she is the Tour Guide once we are in China.

Friday:  I slept all day and was not very well - still coughing.  Wenying says that my body is relaxing and un-stressing which is why I am so tired and ill.

Saturday: The same - all day in bed no Dinner - Marriana who is staying here knew I liked Ginger Tea so she got a heap of julianne ginger from the kitchen for Roy and I had Ginger Tea to settle my tummy.

Sunday:  After breakfast Roy walked into town to buy some Bamboo Cotton for Ping but there was not left. He then caught the 123 Bus to Xindu to get my work from the Gallery to give to Mr Han but he was not there the Exhibition goes till Nov 8th and we will be on the Cruise to Shanghai then.  So the whole venture was a bit of a failure.
I am a little better to day but this afternoon I have a Headache - I hope I am better to-morrow.  This is just not like me.
It is like back in the 90's when I was very ill, I cannot believe how much stress cannot effect the body.
Roy & I are now sitting in the Bar drinking beer and enjoying the Music.  I am about to have a Chivas and hopefully our room doesn't smell so I can lay down before dinner. ( they came to spray the room and you have to get out of the room). 
Roy said the room still smells so we have to sit in the Bar a little longer. I just want to lie down before dinner.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

OK Residency is over and I apologise for not writing on the Blog but it has been extremely hectic taking 9 Artists and 3 Partners around Jingdezhen. Everyone has had and unbelievable time and I am amazed at the amount of work that was produced in the short time we were here.
Day 1 was the most stressful as the Accommodation was not up to standard and a few Artists were very unhappy with the arrangement (The Chinese sleep on hard beds so they explained that we needed better mattresses).  We were given a house with 3 bedrooms upstairs and one large room downstairs had been made into 4 Bedrooms.  A bathroom upstairs and downstairs and also a balcony upstairs.

The Residence is only a few minutes walk from the Studio which was a Buddhist Temple and it was a very relaxing place to work with Porcelain.  The major problem with the studio was that they had no Wheels (I could not believe it) and it was like getting blood out of a stone to get them to understand that we needed Pottery Wheels.  The said we have wheels (Banding Wheels) the Chinese are so funny - you have to laugh or you cry.

Front Entrance to the Buddhist Temple

Side Entrance to Studio

Looking down from the Studio area. Where we had Carving & Qin Hua Workshops. 

Entrance from Workshop to Studio

Studio Area

Studio Area

There was no room in the Residency for Roy, myself and Pimenta so we were taken to a private residence owned by Mr Han a Korean Potter and was about a 10 minute drive to the Studio.
Day 2: all the Artists got to working with the Porcelain and it took some time for them to work it out - Porcelain in Jingdezhen has no clay so you need to treat it with love. For sculpture eg. it needs to dry out as you buildup otherwise it will just slump.  The Porcelain is also very fragile at the green stage and has far more strength when it is dry, it is at the dry stage it is turned, carved etc.
We are doing our last and final firing to-day then the group flys to Shanghai Tuesday evening and then most of them are returning home.
SHOPPING: This is by far the most fun in Jingdezhen - Underglaze/Overglaze Decals. tools, brushes, Lustre, drills, heat guns you name it - it just so cheap in China. Many, many trips for Shopping.  Xindu is actually a very good place for a Residency as it is near many Potteries for purchasing Green/Bisque pieces, Mould Makers, Ceramic Shops all within walking distance.  We would also catch the 123 Bus into Jingdezhen for 1Rmb. (16 cents) for each trip no matter how far, so the group soon became savvy to all the places to go to like the Glaze Shop, Tool Street etc.  Pimenta (from Brazil)  has been the star of the trip as he is fluent in Mandarin Chinese so he helped everyone remember where all the specific shops were - how to get there etc.  It was much easier to let Pimenta take the lead as he is at his ultimate best when he is in charge - I guess it is like taking charge of his Students in Brazil.
We have been to many places during our stay and everyone has been overwhelmed with everything there is to see and do in Jingdezhen - but 3 weeks is just not enough time to see everything.
A couple of Artists arrived with the Flu and a stomach bug which eventually was caught by everyone over the three week stay but we are all just about over it.
Bottle Factory:  Amazing place and it has upgraded a lot since last year with Glazing Machines and a lot of other automated equipment - 10 million bottles a year for Rice Wine. Everyone was amazed with this place.
Sat 6th:
Today we all met at the Sculpture Factory for the Creative Markets. Most of the work is made by Ceramic Students and every week they are assessed and if the work is the same for more than 2 weeks the are asked to leave - so this keeps the students on the ball and updating their work on a regular basis.
After the markets we went to the DIO Coffee shop for lunch and then to the China Bank to withdraw money to pay for our Residency.
We then walked to the Original Fake factory. (nick name) This is the only place that still makes work from different Dynastys the way it was originally made. It was quite facinating.
This evening the owner of the Residence Mr Han returned from Korea and he just the loveliest man. He welcomed us and he has treated us like family and we are now all very good friends. Lucky we have Pimenta to translate for us, I am finding it a lot easier to understand Mandarin this trip - so that has helped me a lot.
Mon 15th.
Another busy day but the day ended with Mark having a gig at the Tree Club Bar (near the new University) - his name was even lights.  Great entertainment. Who would have guessed that Linda's husband would become famous in Jingdezhen as an entertainer.

Another wonderful day had by all.  We went to Gaolin Mt. (where the first kaolin was mined in Jingdezhen) then to the Dragon Kiln - where I was surprised by another friend, Irene, who is studying there at the moment.  Then off to Yaoli -

Initially established in late West Han Dynasty, Yaoli ancient town has hundreds of ancient buildings which were built in Ming and Qing Dynasties. Yaoli ancient town has the beautiful natural landscape. And the rare ancient buildings are distributed on both sides of Yaohe River. These buildings like old buildings in Wuyuan are also strongly featured by Huizhou-style architecture. Cheng-Family Ancestral Memorial vividly shows the art form of Three Carvings of Huizhou Sculpture. There are also the Mansion of Jingshi (the title of winners in ancient imperial examination), Old Residence of General Chen Yi, Meeting Place for Anti-Japanese Mobilization and Stationing Site of Guerrilla of Red Army. The business streets and ancient road of Huizhou are both show its prosperity in the past. Something like colored lanterns and local operas are performing the local folk custom.

 the beauty of Yaoli

Thu 18th:
To-day we are off to the Opening of the Jingdezhen International Ceramic Fair.  We all met inside at 9am and spent the morning walking around the fair checking out all the Porcelain Ceramics.  The Exhibition this year was from China, Korea and Japan, some beautiful work, next year it will be Biennale for Artists from all around the world to enter.  We met so many friends at the Fair and Wenying grabbed us from behind and surprised Roy & myself. It was so great to see her again.
After the fair we went back to the Studio to wait for Pimenta and the group to unload the Kiln to check out pieces for the Exhibition and then off to the Street BBQ for Dinner.
We all had a great night. Plenty of food and beer for all. We were all totally full at the end of the night.

Fri 19th:
Went to the Studio to sort out a few things then Linda, Mark, Pimenta and myself went into town to by Gas Burners, Pyros etc. We then raced back to have a quick lunch then changed our clothes for the opening of our Exhibition at 2:30pm.  Many people and lots of speeches (in Chinese) then the official opening of the China, Taiwan, Australia and Brazil Exhibition as part of the International Ceramic Fair.
Pimenta & I were approached by a Govt Official from Korea who would like us to bring a group each to Korea next year for the Icheon Ceramic Fair.  The groups will produce work for the Fair to be sold which starts on Sept 28th. (my Birthday) and can have a home stay with a Korean Artist or at the Residency.  After a long talk we were then taken to meet the Mayor of Icheon who has invited us to come to Korea anytime from now till the Fair to check it out.  I am not sure about taking another group after all the stress from this trip but it does sound inviting.  I will have to check out a few things before I can make a commitment.  Roy & I have seen almost all of Korea so there won't be much sightseeing to do unless we jump over to Japan for a bit of a holiday. We do have somewhere to stay in Japan so this could be an option.

Sat 20th.
Free day in the Studio and after building a Raku Kiln we could not fire it as the Gas burner did not have a regulator so it was not all that safe to use. After lunch we went to the Big Pot Factory - Sanbao (it was lovely to see all my friends at Sanbao) I felt like I was at my China home again.  I went looking for Shin at Shimpo house and he was excited to see me, also Pauline from Holland was there again this year and joined us for our walk. While the  group went crazy in the shop spending their hard earned money Pimenta and I went to the Restaurant to order our meals for Dinner.  We then went for a walk to the Tea House Museum (near Sanbao).  Every room is from a different Dynasty and really lovely.  We were then taken for a walk from the Museum to the NEW Residency being constructed and it looks amazing.  The Studio area is Traditional Chinese and next to the Studios is the Residency/Cafe/Restaurant area and further up the road is the new Contemporary Gallery and Shops etc.  This Residency looks very promising and will be open next year.  You can go to learn to Paint in Qin Hua or Traditional Chinese Painting - Learn to throw or work with Porcelain and much more.
We went back to Sanbao to relax before Dinner.  Shin & Pauline joined us for dinner and the food was enjoyed by all.  We then went to the Bar area to relax and wait for Taxi's.  Gallery Street was the next stop and more hard earned money was spent. Te Shu Fu invited Roy, myself and Pimenta to lunch at his house tomorrow and he then drove us home after another wonderful day.  We chatted with Mr Han and a bottle red then off to bed - a busy day tomorrow.

Sun 21st:
Early rise as I had to finish glazing for our last firing. The Kiln Master will arrive at 13:30 for the firing.  Then we all had to go to the Gallery to be interviewed about our work in the Exhibition. Then off to Tool street to do some more shopping. Pimenta, Roy & myself were then picked up to have lunch at Te Shu Fu's house.  In all there ten of us for lunch. It was very nice, then Pimenta went to meet the group for a walk down to the Contemporary Gallery Street near People's Sq and Roy & I came back to Mr Han's as we were both not feeling very well.
Mr Han is having a special dinner tonight with some of his friends from Korea who are here for the Fair - so it should be a lot of fun - maybe not so much for Roy as he does not like Korean Food, but I see a big dish of meat marinating in the Kitchen so I am sure he will like that.
Dinner was great - lots of Meat (I guess for Roy) Mr Han is a great cook.
A student of Mr Hans' was there with her mother whom we had met at Studio a couple of days earlier when she noticed that the earrings I was wearing were made by a friend of hers so she had a number of matching Pendants and I was asked to pick one. I now have a matching set, people are so nice in China.
Norman & Robin leave about 2am and Mr Feng is picking them up to take them to the Train Station so they can begin their tour of China and then they are off to Tuscany to house sit - what a great way to end a great holiday.

Mon. 22nd: The 2nd last day for the group and a free day for everyone to do as they please.  I went to the Studio in the morning and started wrapping everything for the Crate.  The Kiln was almost cool so we opened the Kiln about 10:00am and everything looked great. I had the 4 pieces of Carved Celadon' some small cups with Crystaline Glaze (6 of which I gave to Mr Han), Teapot and few other pieces. I also bought 3 pieces from Original Fake guy for the Raku Firing so seeing we did not do the Raku Firing I glazed them with Celadon and they turned out almost like a Tenmoku glaze as the clay had a high iron content - very nice. This guy makes pieces from Shards from Old Dynasties and sells them. Like, he has a port full of shards, and he will take a shard which is bottom piece of a bottle and a make a bottle to fit onto the Shard (using the same clay and glaze from that Dynasty) and it looks perfect.  He believes people look at the bottom first and if it looks genuine then the pot must be genuine. Only in China.
In the evening we went to the The Tree Club Bar again and Mark entertained us all night from 7:50pm till 11:00pm - he was very popular.  We got back to Mr Han's about Midnight and Pimenta let us in.  Pimenta had Dinner with the people from the Glaze Shop.  They went to a Restaurant and everyone ordered 1 meal. Pimenta ordered the Duck.  Nobody seemed to want to eat Pimenta's meal so after he had eaten a fair bit of it someone said to him "Do many people in Brazil like DOG" and he said no - he then realised that the meal he ordered was not Duck it was Dog.  In the picture it looked like Duck - I asked Pimenta was it nice and he said it wasn't to bad but he did not eat any more.  Everyone cracked up when he told the story to us.

Tue 23rd:  Our last day - everyone is feeling a bit sad as the time has gone by so fast.  Sorting out what to take home and packing.  Pimenta and I went Decal shopping in the morning and back to the Studio for lunch.  David from the Crate company arrived about 3:30pm and loaded up everything for the Crate, hopefully it will arrive in Brisbane not too long after Roy & I get home.
Dinner was at 6pm and then back to the Gallery to wait for the Bus to take everyone to the Airport. As usual the time factor just does not matter - we arrived at the Gallery at 7pm but the Bus arrived after 8pm and the Flight was leaving at 9:10pm. A fifteen minute drive to the Airport. I phoned Pimenta to make sure everything was OK and everyone got through with no extra baggage or any other problems.
Everyone should be back in OZ now except for Norman & Robin and John & Carolyn.
I am pretty sure everyone was sad to be leaving Jingdezhen and I know I have made close friends within the Group.