It’s still very early days and I’m told on this particular day that I will learn ‘How to find your way around The Sculpture Factory’. This is all so incredibly new and foreign. I’m still not sure which end of the road is which and if I should turn right at one end to go to the bank or the other end to go to the bakery… decisions, decisions! Some interesting tid bits though… According to Jingdezhen’s Pottery Workshop’s website, “Established in 1956, the Jingdezhen Sculpture Factory is located in an eastern suburb, 6 kilometers away from downtown Jingdezhen. The factory is about 110 thousand square meters and 1300 workers, including a national ceramic art master, 2 Jiangxi Provincial ceramic art master, 36 high standard craftsmen, and over 400 other craftsmen. It is considered to have one of the largest groupings of master craftsman of any sculpture factory.’
Rubber glove moulds & studios behind The Pottery Workshop (© Deanna Roberts 2017)
Well, I’ve already found my studio space. Whew! Am a little more settled there at least. It’s got a lovely community feel to it, sinks at each end and great views from the studio space over the mountains on one side and views to other studios and work spaces in the adjacent buildings. There are a few tools available for use if necessary but this is such a haven for pottery tools I don’t think it’s going to be necessary to hijack any other tools from here. There are basic porcelain clays available for use such as Super White and Middle White, plenty of boards and batts, drying mats and loads of information posted to the noticeboard.
Studio space – The Pottery Workshop – Jingdezhen (© Deanna Roberts 2017)
Feeling very comfortable I make my way downstairs to the communal cafe near the Mufei Gallery and inside on the Cafe wall, the amazing butterfly dress catches my eye immediately. It’s a dress adorned with tiny little butterflies hand-made by various artists to Caroline Cheng’s (Director of the Pottery Workshop) one design and stitched by hand on to a heavy canvas. Effective to say the least!
One of the things that first hits you on your visit to Jingdezhen, is overwhelm. As a ceramic artist, one can get overwhelmed easily on Pinterest just for starters, but when you visit a city totally dedicated to the ceramics industry, with a university totally for ceramics and almost every retail outlet dedicated to the industry in some shape or form and streets with only galleries – one after another – it simply blows your mind.
Around every corner is something representative of ceramics – you can’t help but stumble across it. Its definitely worth exploring. There’s so much to see here. Simply resist the temptation to stay within the studio space… learn, explore, chat to the locals and discover a whole lot more than you expected.
Gallery lane within Pottery Workshop grounds – Jingdezhen (© Deanna Roberts 2016)
Ceramics within roadside wall – beside Pottery Workshop (© Deanna Roberts 2016)