Friday, 21 November 2008
Learning from experience.
Started today by cleaning up and finishing the glazing and organizing of the pots in my area. I met with James at 1 to go get some shopping for small gifts out of the way. Joan and I took the chinese history professor out to eat supper tonight. We took him to Mr. Wu's restaurant. They really know what foreighners like to eat there and he does a good job of throwing some great things out on the table. Tonight we ate fried bamboo, steamed buns (Bao zi), fried bananas, and some excellent broth soup. We had a great conversation all about the culture contrasts and asian pottery history. That probably sounds boring to the non pot head but it was so great to talk to someone else with a passion for pottery history that is from a different region of the art world. We are also getting together with him on Sunday, and Monday for some tours and lessons in chinese painting. Man it is going to be sweet!! Joan and I then went to the pottery workshop for a slide show lecture. A man named Simon Ward did his show tonight. He said many things about learning in a different environment that were great. The best thing he communicated to me was that one of the most important parts of going somewhere new to gather information is the people. The relationships, and networking you do in a place benefit you much more that committing yourself to a cramped studio for the time you are there. You also learn so much from talking about your work to others in this environment. The pottery workshop brings people from all over the globe, and they all bring thier little piece of it with them. You have the opportunity to take a little piece of so many different minds that have been influenced by so many different places just by communication. Now that is an opportunity worth taking over producing the same old things in a cramped studio in China that you do at home. Why bring home where your going? You can get that by walking in your own studio. If your in a super cutural place, then go out and get some of it. Another thing he communicated well was what to make while your in a studio here trying to learn new applicable things. There are many different approaches to this one, but what he did was make very Chinese things while he was here. He made some celadon plates with porcelain carvings of animals and lotus patterns which is very typical China. Although the work looks nothing like the work one makes in a home environment, when you go back it will be a new skill for his checklist as well as influence your work later on. As said before there are many different approaches to this one, but none is worse (in my opinion) than cooping yourself up in a studio to make the things you have always done. What more are you learning by doing that anyway? Ya gotta push yourself out of your comfort zone in order to bring more knowledge and applicable information into what you are doing. I think that is applicable to learning anything in almost any occupation. Nobody said it was easy, but it is what separates the good from the great!