Raw Clay In Shangyu

A Behind-the-Scenes Look

These 2 pieces were huge. When I first got to Shangyu, they didn’t have the proper plaster molds so we had to take a drive to Jingdezhen. One of these pictures shows the giant containers full of JDZ porcelain slip. It’s the finest porcelain in the world, and the most difficult to work with (especially if you’re crazy enough to work with it). I went thru at least 20 of them in 2 months.

These 2 sculptures were pure BEASTS. They exploded partly in the kiln and were still together (just enough) so we could kinda reconstruct them in the kiln immediately after the bisque. That was done so we didn’t have to move them. By a chance miracle they held together thru a makeshift glaze firing, which allowed me and the crew to barely pull it from the kiln. We were successful, and I used my plaster pouring skills from there. The base was reconstructed entirely from plaster (on both). It was a trick I learned back at KCAI from George Timock. Coincidentally, I was in Shangyu with Ilona Romule and Jacob Meudt, both of who have ties to George and Kansas City.

These greenware pieces were all done in about 13 days and were inspired by superstition. China had many of these and these were related to my final few weeks in residence (after an unfortunate fall down 2 flights of stairs, and 13 stitches in a Chinese hospital). I’d like to create an entire post just about that experience sometime.

This shows the process of the final coloration. The colors were basically stains that were encapsulated within epoxy resin. I fell in love with the resin while in Asia, and it’s now what I use most often in my sculpture. It’s much better than glaze as it’s so much stronger.

The epoxy resin serves as a resist to the India ink that I apply to the finished piece. It serves a twofold purpose (the ink): provides 100% coverage to the entire composition and brings balance as a visual aesthetic to the sculpture as a whole. It also helps in disguising any superficial surface irregularities.

Dinosaurs on Dishes from local restaurants in Shangyu