Sunday, 6 October 2013

Day of Reckoning

Tuesday of the conference was my day to present a paper. The first session was a real treat with a presentation by one of China's leading ceramic sculptors Yongkang Yao. Such sensitive work seen in the images of his early work to his delicate celadon glazed later work, truly beautiful.
Here is Yongkang Yao with his wife on the left and Hyesug and another student delegate. Photo by Hyesug

Sorry about the images i photographed from his book which he generously gave to all the delegates.

Robert Sanderson (The Log Book) introduced the group I was in and had gathered information the previous day. I had been anxious but I pulled myself aside and said "Creina, you wouldn't be here if you weren't giving this paper, so just suck it up and get on with it". After that I was fine, I knew my subject well and found myself even enjoying, if not briefly, saying it out loud. I did have the enormous advantage of speaking in my native tongue which many people didn't have. I channelled my mother at the start, being the terrific public speaker she was, and before I knew it I was back enjoying myself again in the audience. Thank you George Fischer, Queensland's first potter of domestic ware for providing this fabulous opportunity.
Robert Sanderson and his wife Col Minogue editors of The Log Book

Brian and Lewis, two Americans followed my presentation and after lunch thanks to Vicki's request we went on a tour of the factory in the village, but not before visiting the pottery shop where the most delightful group of girls were waiting to serve customers. There were far too many employees for the shop as is usual in the village and they were quietly practicing their line dancing when we arrived. So of course we joined in. At the airport I had rashly bought some of those cheesy koalas which I gave to the girls the next day. You would have thought I'd given them the Crown Jewels as they promised their undying love for me, you don't need language do you!

The tour of the factory was an eye opener. We started in the residency area, the Indians had only left a couple of days previously but already it was busy with three fairly new residents and the lovely Nadee from Thailand who had been at Gulgong. He was making his large figures there for sometime now visiting the village regularly. Otto was making a series of animals, Sergie whose name wasn't Sergie, (a long story but I still don't know his name) was making a group of three figures, and Christian from France was busy with tall cylindrical works. There's a strange story about Christian, I befriended him his first evening as he was new so I invited him to join our dinner table. At the end of the evening when he had established I was an Aussie he asked me if I knew the Aussie,Jane Annois, as they were friends. I stared at him in disbelief as Jane had been my sister-in-law's best friend in Melbourne. Small world.
Naidee and his terracotta warriors.
Sergie who isn't Sergie
Now that's a kiln!

The factory tour then took us to the kilns and glaze rooms, there are technicians to help the residents with any problems which is necessary in such a different environment to their own studios. The wood kiln had been used recently by Tim Rowan the first Janet Mansfield scholarship recipient.
Wood kiln. 
We entered a huge covered area which housed a gas train kiln 110metres long which took 48 hours for work to travel through. The working conditions would not be allowed in Australia but in China it is a different story. Many residents have offered to help change some conditions but the workers are unwilling to change.They are also so pleased to have such a good job. The ware is loaded onto large trolleys and lead along tracks that enter the kiln. 

There are women who glaze the tiles in the same area using a blunger and a contraption where the tiles are then placed to dry. The dust in the area is very dense and to clean up hand made brooms are used which make matters even worse. People were squatting in another area making individual tiles along with an artist perched on a stool in the breeze from an open door making elaborate flowered work. 

A nice warm smoko spot next to the kiln.

Across a lane in another building were men making large pots, one on a wheel and one with large coils. The large building was filled with pots.
Another building held a workroom of people making various items from traditional folk figures to sgraffito platters. There was a jigger jolly and a pug wheel along with tumblers and ball mills everyone and everything was going flat out. There was a huge tile and brick factory as well but we didn't go there.
Folk pottery workshop
The remainder of the afternoon I wandered around the museums. I ran into Liv Britta in the emerging artist museum and she showed me how her ceramic pieces worked, she had won a residency with her work.
Using various parts different shapes are constructed
Liv gave the most beautifully poetic presentation when she delivered her paper.
Workshop broom.

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