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jingdezhen, china, ric swenson, september 11, 2008

updated thu 18 sep 08


Ric Swenson on wed 17 sep 08

Hello all.... Hope you are all well. Life in China is good. I see ceramics in every aspect of life here. 60,000 potters in this town. Who could not be affected by this clay culture??

NCECA comes here in about a month.....for conference in cooperation with the JingDeZhen Ceramics Institute and West Virginia Univ...I understand about 75 participants. The International Ceramics Conference, held yearly here, will attract thousands of potters and buyers and collectors. Oct 18-24, 2008.

IAC was here this week....met many European potters, Americans, like my California friend Barbara Brown....Ilona Romule from Latvia, Norma Rodney Harrack from Jamaica, folks from Austria, Norway, France and Australia too.
All the taxis in JDZ have recently been changed and improved by replacement with Suzuki and VW and HyunDai vehicles..... still gold and maroon in color, but improved in shape and style. also improved in it is 6 rmb and not 5 rmb to travel for the first 1.5 KM...gas prices are higher here too, folks. The Beijing authorities will come to inspect JingDeZhen soon and decide whether the community should be supported....Is it clean? Is it worthy of support? I have never seen the place so spiffy. My colleagues now are teachers from West Virginia and from Northern Ireland. 2 Lovely young girls. They have great interest in ceramics and in teaching Oral English. Kim and Kerrie. We are all potters here. There are 15 American pottery students here now under the tutelage of Bob Anderson and his assistants.....from West Virginia Univ......

other students at the Institute are from Viet Nam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Japan and Korea, Russia...Europe.........all over the map. I seek the sunrise always comes......spectacular or the always comes......a Phelps day...or another always comes....Rain yesterday was spectacular. The Mid-Autumn Festive was celebrated last Sunday. Look at the moon and eat mooncakes, fruit filled pastries and gather with the family and friends for a big meal. A little like Thanksgiving Day in America. The clay is porcelain here....and smooth and great to feel and touch and move.....The studio is alive with the movements of students and potters from all over the world. Such great stimulation..... Ceramics lives here everyday. I am surrounded by clay and students interested in ceramics and glazes.....14,000 students studying some aspect of ceramics....from clay body and glaze formulation to forming and decorating to selling.

Hope you all have a chance someday to experience the magic of this place. A visit to the glaze markets, the brush-makers, the decal makers, the large pot factory where they make 12 foot high porcelain vases and to visit the tile makers who roll porcelain slabs with a pipe....1 by 3 meters and just a cm thick. Then painted with traditional or modern painterly scenes. Once fired. Quite fantastic.

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