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chinese clay art newsletter nov. 2006

updated wed 22 nov 06


Guangzhen Zhou on tue 21 nov 06

CHINESE CLAYART, November 2006, Vol. 53.
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"CHINESE CLAYART" is a newsletter emailed bi-monthly to professional
artists, curators, collectors, writers, experts, educators and students in
the ceramic field, who want to know about ceramic art in China and things
related. This newsletter will be a bridge between China and Western
countries for the ceramic arts. Comments and suggestions are very welcome.
(Copyright 2006, the Chinese Ceramic Art Council, USA. All rights
The Chinese Ceramic Art Council, USA
P.O. Box 1733, Cupertino, CA 95015, USA
Tel. 800-689-2529, Fax. 408-777-8321
Chief Editor: Guangzhen "Po" Zhou
English Editor: Deborah Bouchette
Chinese Traditional Ceramic Decoration Technique:
Trailed-slip Technique, Fahua Style (14th 每 15th centuries) 〞
Use white slip to trail patterns on the surface of a low-fired stoneware
pot, then fill inside the lines with alkali-lead earthenware glazes.

Cut Paper Resist Technique:
Works same as wax-resist, cut-paper technique has been used since the Song
Dynasty in Jizhou Ware. Cut pieces of paper were laid onto the damp,
black-glazed ware, then a lighter color glaze was blown on the top. To
purchase Chinese cut paper purchase, please visit
Tour of Ceramic China, May 31 每 June 15, 2007
16 days: Beijing, Xi*an, Jingdezhen, Yixing and Shanghai for $3,350.
22 days: All the above plus Yangshu, Guilin, Shengzhen, and Hong Kong for
approximately $4,400.
The cost may vary if you return to a city other than San Francisco.
The fee includes international air tickets, local transportation, lodging,
three meals a day, workshop tools and materials, and tour
guides/interpreters. Please buy your own insurance.
Day 1, Leave from the San Francisco airport.
Day 2, Arrive in Beijing in the evening.
Day 3, Visit the Great Wall in the morning and Lulichang in the afternoon.
Day 4, Visit the antique market of Panjiayuan in the early morning and
Tiananmen Square and the Ancient Palace Museum/Forbidden City in the
Day 5, Visit Tshinghua University and hold exchanges with the faculty and
students. Take overnight train to Xi*an in the evening.
Day 6, Arrive in Xi*an in the morning. Visit Terra-cotta Warriors Museum
and antique market.
Day 7, Visit Chenlu, a historical ceramics village, and Yaozhou Museum.
Day 8, Take an airplane to Nanchang, and a 3-hour bus to Jingdezhen.
Day 9, Take a one-day tour to Yaoli Village and Gaolin Mountain.
Day 10, Take a one-day tour around Jingdezhen: Ancient Porcelain Factory
and Museum, Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute, Hutian Porcelain Factory (12*
vases are made here), and the Jingdezhen Sculptural Factory. Take overnight
train to Nanjing.
Day 11, Arrive in Nanjing and take a 2-hour bus to Yixing.
Day 12, Take a one day tour to Yixing: artists* studios, Qain-shu dragon
kiln site, Yixing Ceramics Museum, and Teapot Market. Slide talk in the
Day 13, Visit clay art tool stores, have a hands-on workshop (teapot or
sculptures using local clay, tools and techniques; the art works will be
fired and shipped to the US within three months).
Day 14, Take a 3-1/2 hour bus to Shanghai, shopping and relax in hotel.
One-hour cruise on the Huangpu River.
Day 15, Visit Shanghai Museum in the morning and the Yu-yuan Garden and the
market in the afternoon.
Day 16, Leave from the Pudong Airport for home and arrive in San Francisco
in the morning (the same day in local time).
Plan B:
Day 1 to Day 15 are the same as Plan A.
Day 16, Fly from Shanghai to Yangshu.
Day 17-18, Tour in Guilin for two days.
Day 19, Fly from Yangshu to Shengzhen, transfer to Hong Kong.
Day 20-21, Tour in Hong Kong for two days.
Day 22, Leave from the Hong Kong Airport for home and arrive in San
Francisco (or other city on the west coast of the US) in the morning (the
same day in local time).
EVENTS Three Events on the China Trip of October 2006
On last October*s trip, we participated in three events. First was in
Beijing, on Nov. 15, we visited the Academy of Arts and Design at Tsinghua
University--the first conference of the International Society for Ceramic
Art Education and Exchange (ISCAEE). The society was established by a group
of art schools in China, Korea, Japan, Australia, Thailand and the United
States. We spent half a day there. We had a tea party with a professor and
the director of the ceramic department, Mr. Zheng Ning, and both Bob Dixon
and F donated a ceramic piece for the special event exhibition in the
The Jingdezhen International Ceramic Fair was held from Oct. 18-22. We
experienced a grand opening of Chinese-style fireworks, red carpet, and
endless exhibition halls of ceramic art and industrial ceramics.
The Yixing Ceramic Art Festival and the 8th National Competition and
Evaluation of Designs and Creations in Ceramic Art were held from Oct. 27th
每 30th. The event was hosted by the National Ceramic Industry Association,
the Yixing Ceramics Association and the Municipality of Yixing. During the
opening ceremony of October 28th, two plaques 每 ※The Teapot Making Centre
of the World Yixing China§ from Tony Franks, President of the International
Academy of Ceramics§ (with approval from the former president, the plaque
was made in the USA), and a plaque ※The World Capital of Teapots Yixing
China from Chinese Ceramic Art Council, USA§ 每 were handed over to the
Yixing mayor.

Have you ever been to China? Do you want to go? (Answers by Bob Dixon)
I have had the privilege of returning to China on eight occasions. First
in 1995 on my own, which took me to Qingdao and an exhibition of my work,
and then Beijing. Each time I returned to see more and more of the "true
China", the "old China", and the "new China". This year was my third visit
with the group led by Guangzhen "Po" Zhou. Without hesitation, I can
recommend Po as the best leader on your tour of China. Let me take a moment
to explain.
Our trip this year started in Beijing and of course the normal tourist
places; Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden Palace and the Great Wall. All as
stunning as one can imagine. We had an additional surprise of a visit to the
Summer Palace. A treat and a less formal place than the Forbidden Palace.
With Po's tour, we always take time to visit the universities, meeting the
professors of art and the local well known potters and artist. Not to be
redundant, Po takes the tour to universities and famed artists in their
studios at all cities. He is well known and respected throughout China, and
thus opens many doors for the tour.
Xian, the next stop on the tour, and the Terra Cotta Soldiers. Seeing it
once may be enough, but I look forward to the markets where one can find
almost anything and offer a bid to purchase. Xian has a delightful place to
eat and be entertained, the Shaanxi Grand Opera House. We stop here each
trip experiencing a meal of 23 varieties of dumplings. This along with the
Tang Dynasty Style songs and dances tops off the evening. A must to see.
An overnight train to Jingdezhen is not for some, but if you go to
China, I think you must experience this ride at least once. Jingdezhen
always welcomes new visitors and artists. There is always an event, whether
an International Ceramic Exhibition and workshops throughout the city, or
trade shows displaying porcelain in all shapes, forms and fine glazing. To
see the making of a 14 foot tall porcelain vase is a wonderful experience.
Jingdezhen is one of my favorite stops on the tour. The center of the
porcelain industry and a place that opens its doors to welcome you as though
it is your home.
This was my first visit to Yellow Mountain. We stayed in a hotel on top
of the mountain that would have taken over 5 hours to walk up, if not for
the gondola ride. Even at that, the walk up and down the steep steps is
sometimes overwhelming. Almost all people in the hotels got up before dawn
and at 6:13 am the sun broke the horizon and hundreds of cameras began
clicking. The landscape is the most impressive site I have experienced.
Shanghai becomes a stop between Yixing and home. You must spend a few
days in Shanghai and Po's tour always gives you a first rate overview of
this great city. It is like New York and Las Vegas combined, but twice as
big. Here again is a wonderful market for purchasing almost anything before
your return home. The gardens and parks are stunning. Of course, the Museum
is one of the best in the world on Chinese bronzes and ceramics from all
Yixing's visit gave the group on the tour a view of the World Centre of
the Teapot. Here the tour visits factories, individual artist studios, local
trade shops, and local national treasures.
So, if you are planning to visit China, you must consider the
ChineseClayArt tours led by Guangzhen "Po" Zhou. The tours are well planned
and sometimes visits to small pottery villages like Chenlu, a Ming Dynasty
style village, and the Song Dynasty kiln site at Yaoli are an additional
In China, an expression, "you must remain liquid" (go with the flow), is
very appropriate. There is too much to see in China, so prepare yourself to
make a second visit.
Bob Dixon, Professor Emeritus
University of Illinois at Springfield
English Teacher Wanted in China
Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute in China needs an English teacher who will be
able to teach in China for a half or full year. Monthly Salary: RMB 3,500
(about $450 USD), plus free room, heath insurance, and traveling premium.
Starts in the middle of February 2007. Contact: Guangzhen Zhou, Chinese Clay
Art USA. Tel. 800-689-2529,
A Perspective on Contemporary Chinese Ceramics
by Andrew Maske, Fulbright Research Fellow
I am a researcher of Asian art who specializes in ceramics. For the period
of September 2006 through July 2007, I will be investigating creative
ceramics throughout China under a U.S. Fulbright Research Grant.
Since arriving in Beijing in early September 2006, I*ve been fortunate to
be able to participate in a number of large ceramics-related gatherings
around China. Less than a week after arriving, my wife and I went to the
Ninth Annual Tangshan Ceramics Festival not far from Beijing. There, I was
introduced to a wide variety of industrially-produced ceramics and
decorative wares. I also attended a symposium at which a number of prominent
people in the ceramics world discussed the challenges facing China*
ceramics industries. I learned that to most Chinese people, the term ※art
ceramics§ (meishu taoci) means any ceramics made for display, not
necessarily those that are handmade or have been created by an artist.
I also found out that many of the people who are referred to as ※ceramics
artists§ are in fact ceramics decorators - they don*t make pots, but
simply paint on them. This made me wonder why Chinese don*t call people who
paint on paper ※paper artists§ instead of ※painters§!
In any event, it quickly became clear that popular attitudes toward ceramics
in China are very different from those in Japan, the place where I first
fell in love with works in clay. Appreciation of creative ceramic work in
China seems to be confined to a fairly small circle of educated elites, many
of them ceramics artists themselves. Because of the political climate in
China during the 1960s and 1970s, the development of modern artistic taste
was interrupted, with the result that today even many wealthy Chinese prefer
ceramics that stay close to traditional patterns to those that radically
break new ground.
In mid-October I went to another ceramics exposition, this one in
Jingdezhen, China*s porcelain capital. Like Tangshan, there were a large
number of exhibitors of industrial ceramics and tablewares, but the only
area for creative ceramics was a relatively small space displaying wares by
foreign artists who had worked at Jingdezhen. The organizers had asked me to
be a judge for the exposition*s competition, but it turned out to be a
competition to select the best ceramics marketing booths, not the best
ceramic works. Still, it was great to visit the old kiln complex in the
center of town, to tour the Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute, and to take trips
out to the porcelain source sites of Gaolin and Yaoli, as well as to see
what may be China*s only operating dragon kiln.
Most recently, I visited Yixing, which held its Eighth National Ceramic Arts
Competition at the end of October. I was asked to give a short lecture on
Japanese ceramics, my specialty, but the day before the opening, the judging
committee decided to ask me to act as a competition judge as well. As a
judge, I was fortunate to have almost unlimited access to the several
thousand works on display over a period of several days. I was assigned to
the Modern Ceramic Arts (Xiandai taoyi) committee responsible for evaluating
more than nine hundred ceramic works. The two other sections of the
competition were Traditional Ceramic Arts and Daily Use/Art Ceramic
While still in the U.S., I was able to study a number of catalogues of past
contemporary Chinese ceramics exhibitions and competitions. Based upon the
works I saw at the Yixing competition, it appears that the standard of
Chinese creative ceramics is rising slowly but surely. Although there
remained many works that seemed to lack careful thought or sophistication,
there were some that combined originality, skill, and subtlety with a strong
sense of purpose. Such works, however, were few. Many of the artists seem to
be exploring or experimenting without a clear idea of where they are going
or what they want to achieve creatively. There were also works that were
one-dimensional in that they seemed trite or facile, or were simply a
vehicle for demonstrating a technique or use of material. Worse, there were
a few works that were clearly taking their main ideas from works by other
artists illustrated in overseas catalogues and books, as well as some that
were put on display despite the fact that they were clearly misfired or had
been broken in transit.
At the closing ceremony, each of the judges was asked to offer a critique of
the works as a whole. As you might imagine, it took a very long time for
nineteen judges to give their critiques! I tried to keep mine very short,
but suggested that each of the artists keep in mind their motivation - what
they wanted to communicate through their pieces. After all, art is not
really about technique or even originality; it is about expressing oneself
in a way that makes a connection.
As a critic, curator, and educator, it is my job to identify works of art
that make connections with people. I suggested to a couple of members of the
committee that they might consider including some critics, curators, or
ceramics historians (not necessarily non-Chinese) as adjudicators for future
competitions. The world of ceramic art can be very ※clubby§ and in China
in particular, I believe it is important to do as much as possible to make
the field more widely accessible.
I tried my best to judge carefully and thoughtfully, but my inability to
speak or read Chinese fluently put me at a disadvantage. Although
instructions were communicated to me via translation, I was not able to
discuss ideas freely with the other members of the committee, only one of
whom spoke much English. I was also unable to discern most of the
hastily-scribbled titles of the works on their placard labels. The most
valuable exchange came during brief discussions in Japanese with Gao Zhenyu,
a member of the Traditional Ceramic Arts committee who studied in Japan for
a number of years. When it was time for me to give my closing critique,
there were no English-speaking translators available, so I made my remarks
in Japanese, which Professor Gao graciously translated for the audience.
My experience with contemporary Chinese ceramics thus far makes it clear to
me that I have much to learn, and that there is still much to see. I am
looking forward to visiting studios and university art departments around
the country during the coming months.
New items have arrived. Please visit our website for details:

Water Based Decal Sheet (no alcohol needed)
Apply over fired glaze surface only. Clean up the ceramic surface. Prepare a
pan of warm water (about 30∼C) of sufficient size to cover the decal paper.
Dip the decal paper in the water for 2-3 minutes. Spray water on the surface
of the ceramic piece. Slide the decal onto the surface to attach it. Use a
soft rubber scraper to smooth and drive out any air bubbles. Use a dry towel
to take off the extra water. Wait about five hours until the decal paper has
dried completely.
Fire it in oxidation (normally in an electrical kiln) at cone 015 (800∼C).
Started firing at lower speed. Keep the kiln door slightly open until the
paper burns off (about 300∼C)., or the images may turn blackish. Let the
temperature cool down naturally after shutting off the electricity. The
images will be transferred to the glazed surface permanently after the

Liquid Spraying Pipes, stainless steel, 5.5§ long
Use your mouth to spray glazes or oxides on clay works easily and quickly.
Adjust the two pipes to a 90 degree angle, insert the thin and long side
into the container with liquid glaze or oxides. When you blow air through
the top bigger and shorter pipe, you create suction that pulls the liquid up
through the vertical tube, and the liquid exits the container as a mist.
An earlier newsletter is on the Web at:

Guangzhen "Po" Zhou
The Chinese Clay Art, USA
PO Box 1733
Cupertino, CA 95015
Tel. 408-343-3919, 408-777-8319, Fax. 408-777-8321,
Art Tools are Part of Art Works.