In October of 2015 I participated in the International Society for Ceramics Art Education Exchange Symposium in China. We landed in Beijing after a 13 hour plane ride and our 2-week adventure began. We spent one day in Beijing visiting the Forbidden City and then the next morning jumped on an 8-hour train ride plus 2-hour bus ride to Jingdezhen, the porcelain capital on the world. Jingdezhen was the the hustle and bustle of Beijing, but with a smaller city feel. There were street lamps everywhere made of porcelain with the traditional blue and white theme. Their lives seemed to revolve around clay there. They had the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute, a whole college dedicated to the study of ceramic arts. It was mind blowing. After a week in Jingdezhen we traveled to Yixing and to the Wuxi Institute of Art & Technology. Yixing is known for their tiny teapots that are completely had built from slabs. There are no seams left from their work. The clay in Yixing is not good for throwing so there has been a long tradition of hang building.
There were 150 students and teachers participating from 8 different countries including: Japan, China, Korea, Singapore, South Africa, England, Turkey, and the United States. Having the chance to learn from the people who interact with clay differently and have a totally different perspective of clay was life changing. I’ve made life long friends that I can forever have look at my work and give me feedback.