Wake up! Wake up! It was the day when we went to visit the Kiln museum. The day when I found the music bowl. As we arrived at the museum I found out somethings, the museum is not a large indoor building…it is like a huge park that has the best natural environment we had ever seen. After visiting some interesting places in the park, we went to a long narrow hallway, where a bunch of pottery master are creating thousands of cups and bowls in a god like speed. It was amazing! Then I found the magic bowl. You see…(Well you can’t really see it) the bowls that the masters create can produce a smooth, high pitch voice, it was very interesting. Anyway, after a whole day of adventure, (Seeing the ceramics instruments, the magic bowls…etc) I learned about our main topic question. How to become a successful artisan? Well the one of the answer is, just be happy about your work, don’t work in frustration.
When you met the head principal of your school, your heart rate would be like…150 something, but when you met 1 principal plus 2 of the most important people in the school, I guess, you going to have a heart attack. Today, about 11am, 3 of the most important people in the school came to our studio to have a visit, I was nervous but at the same time I feel exciting for this. Though a few minutes later I was already getting used to it. Sometimes I even helped Ms.Emily (Our Head Principal) to create 1 or 2 of the pots. Time passed by quickly, it was the time to eat our dinner. During the dinner we had a lot of fun. We laughed, we joked… Gods, it was great. Today has been a great day, it has also taught me about the steps to become a successful artisan. Such as, sometimes, to become a successful artisan, it also means to become a teacher yourself and try to help others, then you will find out your own weakness, you can try to change it!
Today we went to the Kiln Museum, where we interviewed masters that made bowls and pots using the tradition methods. They are all pretty old and it’s fascinating to see their determination through their projects that they work on. I saw one old lady who was in charge of carving all the tiny detailed pattern on the glaze that would be seen under the sunlight. Those tiny details held me astonished. I could not believe that that old lady had enough determination and skill to be capable of completing such impossible task. She is truly amazing. All of them are, really. The sad part is, they are likely to be the last generation who are willing to do this anymore. Their work isn’t appreciated ever since people invented machines to do the work for them. Being a potter used to be such a proud job to have, it’s just people don’t appreciate hand made work anymore. We came across this master who drew animals on plates with brushes. The animals were so detailed that you could see each and every fur and its direction. I’ve truly met some incredible people today.
WASSUUUUUUUUP?! Thank you for reading my wonderful blog! We had to finish our independent project because it was our last day in the studio. I had a difficult time because most of my bowls shattered. I started off with fourteen things and ended up with three bowls, two beads, three plates and two vases. I made some beads for my friends yesterday but when I was glazing them, all but two of them broke. I was very upset and I still am, however, I am hoping that the two beads that survived will turn out okay. Most of my bowls shattered because I was not careful enough. I grabbed them by the rim or I left them on the ledge of the table. I should have payed more attention to what I was doing. One thing that I think I did well was glazing. I spray glazed everything because I waned everything to be clean and even. Now that I think about it, I should wait until I see my fired pieces before I say too much.
Today we went to the kiln museum. I got to witness pottery masters at work. Each master had his/her own strong point. Some threw, some trimmed, some glazed and some carved! One thing that they all had in common was that every single piece of artwork was beautiful! Everyone was so talented, no wonder they are certified master potters! I learned that it was hard to be a master artisan because of factories. People don’t want to pay for their art because they can have a bowl made in factory for thirty kuai. People do not appreciate true art as much as they should nowadays.
Ms. A taught us about pricing at lunch today. You have to find the price point for whatever you are selling in order for your business to be a success. For example: If you are selling very simple hand made cups, you can’t price it at 1,000 kuai for a cup because a lot of people can make simple cups for cheaper. You also can’t sell them for one kuai because people won’t believe that you are selling handmade items for that cheap. But, if you sell them for ten kuai, more people will buy your cups!
On day 11 in AIR Jingdezhen, we worked on glazing in the studio for the whole day. In the afternoon, we opened the kiln the see the result after firing. At first I was really excited about how we get to see our final work. However, soon I found out that 3 of my artworks exploded. In the night, we went back to the studio to do the final clean up. This is our last day in the studio.
Today is day 12, in the morning we went to pottery factory in Jingdezhen. In the factory, we can see many old artists making bowls and pots by hand. Most of them have been doing this job for more than 30 years and most of it are family businesses. I really enjoy watching them making because each artwork shows how much effort they put in.
Here’s the thing, we’re in a cat cafe right now with an actual alive cat roaming around somewhere. The temptation to leave you guys hanging and go pet the cat is overwhelming, so you’re welcome that I’m actually gonna write on.
Yesterday was our final day. That meant that all our work needs to be trimmed, glazed, and ready to go into the kiln. We had the pleasure to have Mr.Bonin, Mrs.SargentBeasly and Mrs.Leong visit os for one whole day to check out the Air Jingdezhen program, which was really cool. They were all really nice and warm and asked us a lot of question abou the program. It was fun seeing them trying to throw on the wheel and having more success and I had on my first time. When reachign the afternoon, I realized that I was on a tight schedual and might not have enough time to glaze everything I wanted to. I handed all my trimming to Mr.Wang and went on to galzing. In reflection, I thingk I spent too much time picking out the glaze I wanted to go with and that lead to me having to say good bye to a lot of my artworks, they either had to be clear glazed or thrown away. However, I managed to get my main project finished in time which was my priority. During the process of glazing, I came across this cup that I really liked back from when I first saw it on the first day we came into his studio and asked Mr.Wnag wether it was for sale. He said that he was selling for friend for 50 rmb each, that’s when I knew I had to buy it. I expected it to be at least 80 rmb but 50 was not a number I was prepared for. I bought the cup to give it to my mom. I just love the design, and the color, and everything about it. I might as well keep it as my own.
Day 11- I woke up today feeling sad because it was one of the last days here in Jingdezhen. I FINALLY had the strength to go to the gym and then had Taichi. When we arrived at the studio, we learned about the chemistry of pottery. I found out that different metals make different colors for glazes. I also learned how the firing process works, and all the materials in glazes. After that, we had our last day of AIR time and also our last day in the studio. It was really rushed at the end, but overall, I got everything I needed to do finished. I completed my independent project but wished that there was more time for it.
Day 12- Today was a day that was slightly different from the others. We headed to the kiln museum to see how porcelain was made back then. At the museum, there were many old people working with porcelain the traditional and older ways. I found it really interesting how they made the wheel work without electricity. I was also amazed at how fast they were at their jobs of painting, carving, or throwing. We also stopped by some shops to get some art and clay supplies.
Today, we were also explained that pricing and business is important in art too. This allowed me to realize that you can’t be sell things and expect to be successful without any knowledge on how to sell things. Throughout this trip, we focused mainly on the question “What does it take to be a successful artisan?” I really understood that to be a successful artisan, we don’t have to be rich or famous. As long as the artist has a passion or loves their job, they are a successful artisan.