Alistair Returns From China
Just over two weeks ago, Alistair Stevenson returned from a 5 ½ week-long ceramics course in The People’s Republic of China where he was able to study with a group of students under the tutelage of various ceramic artists from both West Virginia University (W.V.U.), West Virginia, U.S.A. as well as JingDeZhen Ceramic Institute(J.C.I.), Jiangxi Province, China. These artists were Shoji Satake and Robert “Boomer” Moore of W.V.U. and Li Chao of J.C.I. The other students on the trip hailed from Canada and the United States of America. Upon arrival in China, Stevenson began his travels in Shanghai Province where he was able to visit several museums and culturally-centered areas which allowed him to not only focus on the ceramic culture in Shanghai but also the general historical and contemporary aspects of art and culture there.
After spending some time in Shanghai, Stevenson and the group traveled, via train, to JingDeZhen City, JiangXi Province. JingDeZhen city is known for producing about 90% of the world’s blue and white porcelain, having over 1700 years history in this art-form. Here a three-week studio portion was allocated to the group where each person was given a studio space that included shelf-space, table space and an electric throwing-wheel at the W.V.U. –J.C.I. International Ceramic Studio. Here, the group received demonstrations from various professional artists who live and work in JingDeZhen, as well as participate in three firings. Outside of the studio, the group was able to commute with the community in general, forming relationships with both the local and international presence within that city.
Upon leaving JingDeZhen, the group traveled via airplane to Shaanxi Province, visiting Xian City and the surrounding area. Here, the group viewed the world-renown Terracotta warriors as well as other historical sites in that area which focus heavily on the ceramic arts, namely sculpture. The group also got to travel to Chen Lu which is one of China’s earliest major production sites of ceramic products. Although Chen Lu can be considered a city almost extinct, artists still live and work in that area along with the other citizens who also live there.
After yet another train ride, the group then went to Beijing Province where they spent the last days of their trip exploring the historical sites in that area. Such historical sites would have included the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven. Some members of the group also visited the Central Academy of Fine Arts’ campus; this university is considered the most notable for Art in China. Having been able to spend on only a few days in Beijing, Stevenson then departed China and made his way back home to The Bahamas.
Writing and photos submitted by Alistair Stevenson