Sunday, 30 November 2008

Walk near school

My dad requested I take a video of what it is like walking down the sidewalk here.  This is not some of the craziest sidewalk things I have seen here, but it gives you an idea.  I have seen quite a few accidents, people walking buffalos down the street, women holding their babies over trash cans to poop.  You name it and I may have seen it here.  I only wish I could capture all of the smells.  Their is so much to hit the nostrils here it is overwhelming.  Enjoy the video!

Awesome Chinese flute player

So this guy was playing in the street of town near the school.  This is a fairly common thing with all kinds of instruments.  I was really drawn to this guy though so I decided I would share a video with everyone.  Such soothing music.

The last Loading and firing

Brad standing proudly in front of his loading job.  We loaded yesterday.  Finished loading at five and fired until eight the next night.  So it was a 27 hour firing. 
There was also a gas firing happening which brought many more people to the glazing and loading area.
My first shift was at 5am.  Beautiful time of day.
John giving it one of the final stokes.  Seth in the background.

Mike shutting the door after the final stoke of a long firing.  He looks pretty satisfied to me.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Chinese Thanksgiving foot.

I suppose the thanksgiving around here is about food and good company much like at home.  These people decided they liked the company of the duck, but still wanted to have a tasty foot for supper.  They had the ducks company as well as the taste.

For those out there that do not know; they do not have thanksgiving here.  This duck also has 2 legs, but for some reason likes to stand on one of them at a time.  I was shocked when I first saw it so I figured I would share the excitement.  Hopefully it made for a good story.

Pictures from the 28th

I think today I took some of the best pictures I have taken so far.  The lighting was perfect for pictures of this beautiful place.
Can you see all of the little ducks playing in the rice field.
"Don't look I am naked!!" said the left pole.  I snapped a picture for you guys anyway.
Taken from right beside the kiln.  Now that is an inspiring view of mountains.


tian bao clay process.

As soon as I asked one of the workers if we could see the clay process he just pointed across the road toward the rice field and jumbled out some fast chinese to James.  Next thing ya know we are walking through this beautiful part of rural china.  Lots of rice ,as you can see, along the way to the clay pit. 
And here is a picture of the clay digging site.  Evidently they use loads of clay here, but I can tell you that this whole bottom is full of this amazing clay so there is plenty more awaiting use.  I absolutely LOVE digging and using local clays.  The smell, the feeling, and just knowing you are doing it the same way that the neolithic did it so many years ago.
This is a closeup of some of the beautiful grey seam along with a small piece of my shoe.  
This is the building where they take the clay to be processed.  Notice the tiles and piece of old broken jar on the very top.

this is a homemade pugmill where they do some de airing and mixing before use in the shop. Pretty sweet setup if you ask me.

Tian Bao trip #3

When I arrived around 9 in the morning some of the crew was working on loading the kiln with tiles.  Mr. Jin was not there, but I had a great time learning from the workers there for the day.
this is a shot of where they are in the loading process.  The kiln takes 5 days to load so they may not even be done loading in time for me to see a firing happen.  It was very cool to see the loading process though.  I love wood kilns, and especially groundhog tunnel style ones, like this so my heart was skipping everywhere while watching these pros load this monster. 
from the other direction near the loading door.  You can catch an idea of the slope in this one.
Good ash buildup on these old bricks.

Me chillin' with the loading crew.  These guys were great to me all day.  Any time it looked as though I needed anything they were right there to help.  They are very experienced hard working men of their field.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Homemade Chinese vehicle.

As you can see this machine is extremely safe to operate with the engine, and gas tank outside right behind the seat.  Thus thing was so load too.  I thing it is some kind of digging machine.  I am not sure what it was doing trying to get down food alley, I suppose it would be more understandable if the had a drive through there.  Oh......  I remember drive troughs.  Those are pretty nice.  I am more thankful for those today as well.  

Imperial kiln site

Here is a shot of the 6 kilns in a row that were ecscavated from the middle of Jingdezhen.  You can see the firebox, warebed, and flues of these bad boys as well as some other parts of the potters workshop.  

View from the top of the pigota

close up of the center of the ceiling.

Some of the views from the top.  I have so many pictures from the top because it was so neat up there.  It would be a sweet place for a chinese picnic.  

Red Pigota, or Emperor Kiln museum.

Yesterday Joan and I went out to the red pigota museum and spent the morning touring the place.  The history of it is really quite amazing.  This is a place where they would have pots inspected.  If they had to have 20 and made 30 they would bust ten of them on the ground righthere and put them all in one shard pile.  They would do the same thing if the pot was not good enough for the emperor or something along those lines.  So around the 1970's or 80's some people came around and glued whole pots back together for dispay in this museum.  They also had an amazing ming dynasty kiln site out there.  That means in is as old as 1300-1400 ad.  So needless to say it was pretty awesome. 
Some of the walkway outside.
This is one of the many plates put back together.  You can see the cracks and places where they tried to remake the glaze if you look closely.
First floor ceiling.  There were 5 floors in all.  

This was what the roof of the top floor looked like.  This is all wood carving that is supposed to look like waves.  

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all that celebrate it out there.  This is one that I will  never forget.  I suppose I am more thankful for what I have on this thanksgiving than I have ever been before.  This is a picture of some of the fresh fruit sold at one f the many markets here.  We did not have turkey, but all the guys gave it their best.  This thanksgiving was not all about food for me though.  I ate at noodle man and KFC (kentucky fried china) for 2 meals and thanked God for all of the many opportunities He has given me in the past year as well as all of the amazing people I have met.  I would say I am most thankful for all of the people in my life on this day.  All the ones that gave me a hand as far as potters, parents, friends, and teachers.  I could make a list, but I will do that some other time.  Thanks everyone out there reading this.  I am tremendously thankful for you.     

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Afternoon Kiln museum

This morning I finished glazing and wadding my pots for the wood kiln, and I am officially finished until the firing.  Now I have some real exploring freedom.  Ok.... so today Joan and I went to this awesome kiln museum in downtown.  This is the outside of it with all kinds of sweet bronze sculpture everywhere.  
There was a chinese opera stage at the front of the entrance.  They have traditional chinese operas here on special occasions.  There are hundreds of different characters in the chinese opera and every one has a different mask.  I now realize that is where the masks from the 3 ninjas movies are adopted from.  If you dont know those movies it is ok.  It is just a significant childhood memory for me.  
This is the ancient kiln site that was found in the middle of town.  All of the buildings around this area are filled with old shards that were excavated from this site that dates back around 1000 years.  It was so cool for me to get to see this site in person. 
This is exactly what the sign says it is.  

This is one of the buildings in the area.  It is a temple with some magnificent carving and amazing gold kiln gods that people leave gifts for and pray to.  I have some pictures of what the inside has in it, but I will put that up later or something.  I am very tired from working this morning and walking all afternoon.  Good morning everyone else but me!!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Takeshi Yasuda

I spent thins afternoon talking (well actually mostly listening) to Takeshi Yasuda.  It was a real privilege to be welcomed into his work area just to hang out and talk to him.  I have loads of notes about porcelain history, and other pottery traditions of the world from our nice conversation.  He is a very brilliant man who is filled with historical knowledge about pottery and the world.  I cannot express the amount I learned from just asking him a few questions.  He is an excellent teacher and artist.  

Monday, 24 November 2008

Video antique shop tour

Now this video is of th inside of one of the antique shops.  Any potter who sees this and knows anything about chinese pottery should be baffled.  Or at least I think so.  This is what Jingdezhen is all about.  I am sorry Jeff and Davin left without seeing this place.  At the beginning you can see a man dirtying up a new jar and then it is on to the slightly blurry video tour produced by my little camera.

Fraud Alley

After the market we were taken down an alley that is supposed to be famous around the world.  I had no idea how sweet this alley was going to be.  It was such a small place, but had so amny great pots it was ridiculous.  
This place is famous for reproduction of ancient chinese ware as well as getting a hold of some real antiques.  Some of the museums come to to get their hands on real antique pottery.
The stuff that is not real antique is covered with dirt so it looks like it had been dug from an ancient kiln site.  These chinese people are pretty sneaky little devils.  Too bad I found their secret alley.  hahaha! (evil laugh)  

This is a mad covering a fraud funerary jar with mud.  I know Jeff and Davin would have really wanted to see this place.  It was pretty awesome.

The antique market village.

So yesterday we went to where the antique market goes when it is not in a different place on Monday morning.  This place had many more pots, and antiques than the morning market though.  It was so much fun, but the prices were still super high for any white person trying to haggle so I refrained from any purchase.