Martie (AKA the Kiln Priestess) on mon 1 may 06
This posting is for those Clayarters who are curious about ceramic
folklore and kiln god/desses in particular. Over the past several years I
have occasionally reported on the kiln gods of China and swapped kiln god
related stories with ohter clayart members. I greatly enjoy sharing the
topic of kiln god/desses with other people, and I am hoping to gather more
information about one kiln god in particular who is worshiped at an old
kiln side in Hong Kong, as part of a summer fellowship that I received
from the Hong Kong Baptist University Academy of Visual Arts.
In addition to conducting further research into kiln gods, I have been
asked to set-up a new ceramic program at the HKBU Academy of Visual Arts.
Currently there are other fine arts programs under way including sculpture
and painting, however, the ceramic area is completly devoid of any
equipment or materials. I thought that the process of setting up a program
in Hong Kong might also be of interest to some people, so I will send in
posting of my progress from time to time. Also, because I have worked in
Hong Kong in the past, setting up the studio will be a lot easier because
I will be able to localy hunt for some of the things that we will need.
Over the years I have read many valuable accounts by ceramists about their
experiences in China, however, few people make mention of ceramics in Hong
Kong. Hong Kong is very interesting because all of the cermists here are
studio potters, who were for the most part, trained either in the United
States, England, or Australia. I have a few friends who have taken lessons
from potters in China, but until recently the works of ceramists in Hong
Kong have been heavily influenced by Western practices and traditions.
This is why it is so difficult to learn about folklore or the mythology of
kiln gods in Hong Kong. Many Chinese people who grew up in Hong Kong prior
to the repatriation of Hong Kong with the People's Repbulic of China in
1997 lost a lot of their cultural history because they studied under an
educational system that was over-seen by the the British government.
What is also unique about Hong Kong is that through the efforts of
ceramists like Caroline Cheng, a Hong Kong cermist, who is the director of
the Pottery Workshop in Hong Kong, the flow of Hong Kong's hybridized
ceramics is being funneled into Shanghai and Jingdezhen where Caroline has
established other Pottery Workshop studios. Of course, current Chinese
concepts are also flowing back into Hong Kong not only through the Pottery
Workshop, but through many other sources as well. Things in Hong Kong are
starting to really heat up as far as the contemporary ceramic scene is
If anyone is interested, I have a website that includes information on
kiln gods. My website is: www.kilnlore.com
May the kiln gods and goddesses bestow good luck on your next firing,
Martie (aka, the Kiln Priestess)
Martie Geiger-Ho, Ph.D.
University of Pittsburgh at Bradford
Communication and the Arts Division
300 Campus Drive
Bradford, PA 16701