alright im going to make this one short... id like to get caught up tonight... the flood has set me back.
so as for my work in the studio.. ive been spending alot of time working on my line sets. i was a bit unsure if i wanted to work on them here.. but i am ever so happy i have. i am trying new things with the forms and the techniques in creating the forms. yippie!! i guess what i was most unsure.. and a bit scared of was not being able to improve on what ive started back in the states. this bit of insecurity that i sometimes get is really frustrating. i guess its that i still surprise myself with the outcome of my work. when something turns out the way i planned, i feel its luck. which i have gotten lucky in the recent past, but if it wasn’t for all of my hard work.. and not letting all of the disaster/creative blocks/failures (or whatever you want to call them) stop me from doing what i love... i wouldn’t have learned all i know about my specific process, and the materials in general that make successful works seem lucky. i think i have to remind myself of that at times.. and also while i do like my first line sets.. and im semi-proud.. there is so much room for growth, and now that ive looked at them enough, i just see all of the flaws.. or in better terms.. the things i would do different now.... i see them as a starting point. i think that quality in myself(confidence through excitement to continue growth within my work) is starting to help with the bit of insecurity i get before i start something new.
so needless to say i jumped the hurdle.. and have two sets completed and awaiting glaze. and one set i have not finish and probably wont due to the flood.. but ill talk about that in later post. all three sets are completely different from each other.. with specific intent from the very beginning (which is a semi-new concept for me.. i usually just wing it.) pics included below of the two sets... there has been no photos of the latest.. i am going to try to photograph them tomorrow when i get into the studio just to document the process and forms i was working with.. seeing that it will never be completed. again i will go into more detail of reasoning behind that later.
so we took a trip out to the lotus buddha temple with xiao min (i think that’s the correct spelling.. as i butchered it before as chao ming.. sorry friend) these were really cool. we bought some incense to burn at the entrance.. and then did some form of a prayer.. i just copied... which was a bow to front back and both sides. the buddha statues were really beautiful. the whole experience was really peaceful... the smell of the incense, the light chime or music that was playing... there were 3 different large rooms with large Buddha’s in them. all a place for prayer.. as we walked up there was a ceremony going on. women dressed in black robes in a temple singing and walking slowly step by step in a line behind some men with bells of some sort. this temple entrance was just passed a walk way and located on top of a building that was build next to a steep cliff... from which we came from.. hopefully the pictures will aid in my awful explanation. you could walk all the way around the temple... with the backside.. or maybe considered the front.. facing out to a beautiful landscape. the view mixed with the soft chant/singing was unexplainable. the feeling of calm, peace and appreciation was in one word... beautiful.
as we left we came across a millipede.. eek. as we waited for the bus.. i of course made friends... there was a young women and her father.. they said hello... and i said ni hao, then he started to speak chinese.. i then just kind of put my hands up and smiled.. the daughter spoke a little english so he was talking to me through her.. mainly asking where i was from and if i was a student and where at. as be boarded the bus... their whole family came out.. a few little kids.. just so excited.. saying bye-bye. =) i just really love to make people smile. its not everyday they see round-eyes. lol that’s one thing i guess i have forgotten to mention.. there aren’t many foreigners in jingdezhen. we stick out like sore thumbs. most people stare. and i smile and nod.. with the occasional ni hao... kids are the cutest tho.. they usually just yell HELLO! and run away.. they get a kick out of it.
the bus we took back wasn’t a jci bus it was the public transportation... a man sat next to me and he spoke a bit of english... again the same questions... "where are you from? what are you doing here? where are you studying? and how long are you here?" at this point in the trip everyone in my group just knows that i make friends with everyone... its like a joke... "you know stephanie, you don’t have to make friends with every chinese person in china." that fine with me. i just know it makes my day, and hopefully it makes theirs as well =)
when we got back it was time to unload the kiln!!! yay! so everything is the kiln looked great! thanks xiao min.. he is a kiln master. literally that’s what he went to school for. and of course my celedons were beautiful, some of my other glaze combos... not so great, but for the most part, im happy with the firing. ha, i thought my work was small going into the firing.. man, im not sure if its skipping the bisk that makes the shrinkage seem so drastic or its the clay we are using. im assuming both, but everything i made is so small. lol, i guess its okay bc it makes it that much more easier to bring back! pics below.
ktv attempt # 2. so it was the hacc ppl's last night in jingdezhen. have to go out with a bang! li chao took us back to the same ktv.. same room and everything. beer included this time and no time limit.. well 1 am but we were there by 730pm, so the idea of closing the place was a laugh, given our last experience. the case of beer was gone quickly and the involvement in karaoke was still minimal. sooo nick and i decided to make a wal-mart run. one fifth of beam for 260 rmb and a pint of bijiu for less than 10. and the party started upon our return. after about an hour.. there was nobody sitting on the couches... everyone was up dancing and singing along(boomer included).. there may have been some attempts at the worm across the floor.. nick and shawn lol. some bad 80s music.. alot of lady gaga and britney spears.. it was great.. the beam was gone by 10.. and yet we stayed till 1 am.. we didn’t see that coming. all in all it was a blissful day!
the next day was sad.. goodbye to new friends bob trachcel, shawn, hannah, hannah #2, and donna. just started to get to know each of them, and then they had to leave. BUT we exchanged contacts and made great connections. i look forward to keeping in contact with each of them. =)
after they left we figured a good way to get cheered up would be a massage... a fish foot massage. or in jake's words.. a fish-job lol. OMG i was dying. sooo very ticklish. i couldn’t even stand it. the fish lasted about 20 mins, while we got back massages then the people started massaging our feet (thank god)
so JCI's sculpture BFA show was up for a day to be critiqued by the professors. if you get good grades, you get to graduate, if not. welp, your back next semester. there were 90 students work in just the sculpture show. we missed the ceramics show 2 weeks ago.. i heard it was amazing. we were able to check out the show while the profs were grading and discussing, most of it was ceramic sculpture, and alot of it was really great work. some of it was ehhh, okay. but ill tell you what, it was way overwhelming. everything was so close together.. nothing could breath... not even us. 90 artist with multiple works, in 3 small galleries. yikes!! really makes me appreciate my 4 person BFA show and my own space in the gallery.
that night and the following day i was a studio junkie. smoothing out the two completed sets.. preparing them for the soda kiln... and actually bisque firing them! while starting the third set.. and almost finishing the initial alterations before letting then stiffen up enough to smooth out... i was feeling pretty damn accomplished. just as a precaution we unplugged the wheels and put them on top of the work tables (there was a BAD flood in jingdezhen a year ago and the studio was wrecked)... i headed back to the dorms to blog during a mega thunderstorm. it was pouring rain for hours straight.. which turned into ear piercing thunder... the loudest i ever heard. seriously hurt the inside of my ears... as i feel asleep to the rain i though to myself... it really needs to stop raining. 730am rolled around and i had decided to treat myself after the past couple hard work days and skip breakfast to sleep a couple extra hours... i headed to the studio around 10 excited to finish my work and pump out a few cups on our last work day... as i approached the studio it was clear, there was no work being made that day. the flood was well on its way.
so much for a short blog blurb... as i would love to go on. i must get some rest. i will leave you all with that cliff hanger... until next post my friends...
peace and love,
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steph galli-- china summer 2011 and fall 2011