We, Derek van der Vinne and Daan Gielis, two current 2nd year masterstudents, are currently working and travelling in China. Our homebase is in Jingdezhen, which in China is considered a “small” town with “only” 1,5 million inhabitants, about 500km inland and an hour flight from Shanghai.
We have been working and travelling for about a month and still have a month and a half to go. With little and no experience in ceramics it has been a period of getting to know porcelain and discovering the possibilities offered by the craftsmen of Jingdezhen.
We have just returned from a week of travelling, going from jingdezhen to Xian, Fuping and then to Beijing. We visited among other places, the ceramics centre in Fuping, the great wall of China, the forbidden city in Beijing, and the 798 arts district,.. After a 23 hour trainride we got back and have now arranged a new studio in the heart of the pottery workshop near our youth hostel and are ready to make more works.
Currently we are working on personal pieces and a multiple that’s going to be produced as an edition of 200.
China so far has ‘not been a pique-nique’, to borrow a phrase from a Belgian friend. The country and it’s variety of experiences has been wonderful, demanding, tiring, crazy but centainly rewarding. Especially upon returning, Jingdezhen feels like a fresh and friendly city. The streets are filled with little shops where blacksmiths, moldmakers, casters, woodworkers, owners of DIY shops, bicycle repairers,.. fix anything. The streets are broken, with repair constantly happening everywhere. This gives the feeling that there is still a large realm of possibilities for fresh, new things, which is quite an inspiring feeling.