Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Patchwork of Ceramics in Jingdezhen

Jindezhen is about a day's drive SW from Shanghai. It is arguably the world's porcelain capital. The whole city revolves around the ceramic industry. There are several universities and training institutes for students, and hundreds of 'factories', each specialising in some aspect of ceramic production. 'Artists' don't do the complete production themselves as in the West. One factory will process the clay, another will specialise in mould making, another will pour the moulds or finish the green ware, turn the bases, some are specialist carvers, painters, lustre painters, decal makers, glaze makers, and so it goes on. There is even a 'kiln master' to fire the kiln, then a team of 'specialists' will finish the pots, grind the bases, and a specialist box maker custom makes boxes for transport.
Even the traffic lights and street lights in the city are made from porcelain.
We stayed at Sanbao - an independent, privately owned renovated farm house about 10 km from town. Jackson Li and his sister Wendy run the place. Jackson is well known in the ceramic world for being a bit more 'Western' in his approach - his repertoire of skills is unusually broad and he makes the most beautiful brushes [see previous posts and the web site].
...bathroom wall tiles,
 I don't know who made this piece, but it shows a popular style of abstract work with the gorgeous celadon glaze that I love so much.
...this time a 'patchwork of glaze'- glued to canvas after firing.
...this was originally a kiln, then a fireplace, now a repository for reject bowls.
...exhibition piece,
'Beneath our Feet'
...part of an exhibition by Englishman, Tom Hayes, who had been at Sanbao for 6 months,
...and this one commenting on the layers of ceramic history, shards, clays, soils and rice paddies.

The institute welcomes international artists for residencies at all times, so if you want a fabulous opportunity to immerse yourself in this world, check out the web site or just email Wendy. of the buildings with a residence and several studios.

Footnote - I have many more Sanbao pics and pics of great ceramic pieces but I'll leave them for another post - this one was all about the 'patchwork'.