Little houses on the hillside, little houses made of. . . Ming Dynasty Wood?

18 09 2010

We’ve been in the studio playing with the local clays.  I can’t say that I hate them, but I can’t say I’m in love with them and won’t be able to work without them at home either.  Everyone is having a little bit of, “adjustment time,” with the clay bodies.  It’s so far been a lot of fun though.  Got to see a potter throw on a traditional wheel, then I threw after him (with much less success).

Ginormous Kiln

Inside of Kiln

We also traveled out to the country.  I have never sweat more in my life.  However, I keep hearing about carrying your wallet in your front pocket and never having your passport on you and things, yet everyone I’ve met here tells me nothing but how safe China is.  In a way, I believe it.  We had a guy get pick pocketed in a super busy part of town, and later someone called our professor saying they had found it and he got it back.  Everywhere we got we meet the most welcoming and nice people.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan on walking through some sketchy alley with money hanging out of my pockets, or traveling with my passport (although I accidentally washed that anyway), or not paying attention when in crowded places, it’s kind of crazy.

Group Chat

So we went and traveled around the countryside, and we saw an area where they were carving marble with water, and next door was that amazing dragon kiln.  We sat around and ate sunflower seeds with the family that owned the house.

Ming Dynasty House

This was one of the houses we saw that was built in the Ming Dynasty.  There were amazing wood carvings all throughout the house.  It was unbelievable.  That’s Michi standing there, we had a super adventure the other day.  We went out exploring the town a little bit after things had started settling down for the day.  We had already played basketball with some friends and one of the locals and were now sweating more than ever as we walked in the sun and checked out all the clay galleries down the side streets in Jingdezhen.  We eventually found a few folks that sat and talked to us about their work, and then we stumbled into a guitar shop where we were able to talk the Chinese folks inside into playing their guitars and singing for us!  It was sooooooooooooooo good.  They got this girl to sing while two of them played their guitars.  They did Coldplay’s, “Yellow.”  This little chinese girl had one of the most beautiful voices ever, and her pronunciation was wonderful.  Way better than the asian beetles covers you see on youtube. . .   “raaddaay Muh dawna. . .   cheerdren att yooo peet. . . .”  Anywho, we kept moving and found the market where vendors buy their vegetables and meats from these outside tables.  We saw everything you could imagine being sold as far as food goes.  (we even saw a puppy, michi and I were pretty sad, cause he was bound to be someone’s dinner)

Living and Cooking

This was one of the villages we walked through.  The village was pretty peaceful, not too much going on.  Just people taking care of business.  We did a lot of walking this day.  Almost as much as we did the day of the expo.

Landon on a bridge

Landon has been breaking his shell on this trip.  Landon and I have done a few things that I didn’t think would happen from the guy.  He even went and got foot massages with us.  By the way, Chinese foot massages. . .   Landon was in ruv.  For 48 yuan (7 or 8 dollars) you get a 115 minute massage that includes a foot washing (they soak your feet in hot water at first, to alleviate. . .  well you know, foot funk), back massage, shoulder massage, hand massage, let massage, arm massage, and the list just keeps going.  We went as a group, and none of us wanted to put shoes on at the end.  It was much needed after all the traveling we had done.  Landon has vowed to go back twice a week for the rest of his life.

China Streets

Meat drying in the sun

Paved back alleys

This was a village we went to that very un-industrialized.  Everything is pretty simple, but it’s now to the point that tourism has invaded.  They have built a fake temple with fake monks that invite you, give you incense, tell you to bow, then tell you to give them money.  It was nice to see, and was very very beautiful.  The town itself had a few damns where people would was their things, and get water from a hand pump.  It was pretty striking to me when I saw one of the workers come over the hand pump and wash his cup.  It’s a really simple act, but it was the fact that no matter how different our cultures are, and how different our ways of life are, we all wash our cups the same.  It was nice to see the similarity.

Fields of rice

Fields of rice, all picked by hand, run through a mill that is powered by foot.

1100 year old tree

Houses

Houses

This last village we visited was a rice village that had a Kaolin mine next to it.  We got to meander through the village and see what was happening.  There were water buffalo (Andie D’s favorite) and people picking rice and putting it in a huller.  The huller was totally foot powered, and the buffalo were just sitting around munching while they were taking a break.  We saw that 1100 year old tree, and there were rocks embedded in the ground in front of it.  They were stuck down with something but I couldn’t figure out what it was.  It was hard like grout but somebody mentioned that it might be some kind of rice mixture?  Who knows, but I really wanted to know what it was.

Today I’m going to play with another mixture of clay, and see how this bit likes to throw!

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