Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Today i did a bunch of "Learning" as seen in the photographia.  The throwing is slowly progressing however which is a good thing.  We also went to a mold maker and watched him make molds and that was really great.  As we got out of his shop there was this old man selling flowers and plants off a cart and i thought he looked awesome.  It was another beautiful and great day.  Tomorrow Mr. Jin, it should be great as always.  BYE! Kurt

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Kurt Wensmann
Foreign Affairs Office
Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute
Eastern Suburbs
Jingdezhen City, Jiangxi Province, China 333001
Hey this is my address, please do not send anything past November 15 or so because apparently it takes a month by standard mail and if they say a week, often its two weeks, but please feel free to send me something if you would like

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Saturday Sunday Monday

Saturday:  We went to Tianbao which was super amazing!  This is a place where the owner Mr. Jin, is super amazing and extremely talented and all he makes is coil pots, he does not own a potters wheel.  All of his coil pots are used as storage jars.   Also the kiln that he fires all of these in is a 64 meter (almost 200ft) Dragon Kilns it is super wild and crazy.  the picture is from inside and outside the kiln.  On the way back we stopped at a brick factory.  We also that day got a flat tire on the way home.  All in all it was  fantastic as usual
Sunday: Chiming's gallery as well as a ton of other people's shops all opened on this street and to celebrate we started drinking beers at 9:30 am and they all lit of a crap ton of fireworks.  it was crazy, when i have a chance i will try and get a video of that from someone and post it.  The picture is the remnants of the fireworks.  Then the rest of the day was a work day and played some B-ball on the courts where wherever i go all kinds of people want to play against our team and see "this tall white guy" play it was good.
Monday: Was a work day, really didn't get much done at all, Xiao Min (he is our kiln fire-er) was firing a kiln so i watched that and tryed to learn as much as i could.  Me and Nick also went to this bakery that has possibly the most delicious cake that they make in the world, Possibly! and besides that it is beautiful.  Didn't really do much after that, screwed off the rest of the day and was put to work by Bob because of it. 
This week:  Mr Jin is going to be coming to demo coil-building wed - Frid, which will be great so i think thats about it. Later all.  and much love!
P.S. that is the wood we are going to fire with (or try to) and the same that we stacked the other day

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Painting and work

The last two days have been work days at the studio with no planned demos so i have been trying to get a bunch of things done but am having limited success doing as if you count success as saved pots, there has however been lots of "learning" and i will try and take a picture of my "learning" tomorrow afternoon/evening.  Tonight we went over to Chiming's studio that he is trying to get ready, so a few of us guys went over there and painted for a few hours, i of course got the ceiling because i could actually reach it.  His studio looks great, a couple more things to do and viola! DONE!  Tomorrow we are going to Tianbou which is a village that uses an earthenware/stoneware clay and makes these huge storage vessels so look for the pics and videos.  LATER!  Kurt

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Owner of a broken heart!

Theme song of the day is "Owner of a broken heart" by Yes, officially! Tom has sung the main verse all day and now its stuck in all of our heads and to top off the evening that was also the first song he played on his laptop!  Today we had another glaze demonstration by Yangbin, who is super amazing.  I was able to do a couple of practices on paper and was pretty happy with them so i plan to put them on a pot somewhere in the future.  Also we got a bunch of wood for the wood kiln however it is all rotten pallet pieces or something similar (picture tomorrow, i forgot).  It was another great day, we have 2 free work day the next 2 days then go to Tianbou for a day, then 3 more free days, i am excited to be able to get some work done. Later! Kurt

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Brush maker demo and lattes

Today we had a brushmaker come into our studio and show us how they make the brushes, its was absolutely fantastic, and super crazy.  It was the old man(his awesome belt buckle) and his daughter.  The old man has been making brushes for 50 YEARS! and his daughter another 25, just another example of a fantastic artisan here in Jingdezhen.  Also me and Daniel went to this coffee shop/ceramic gallery place that was super awesome.  Check out eh photos and i have another blue and white glaze demo tomorrow! Bye, Kurt

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

5 of 6 Mr Zhan Throwing

5 of 6 Mr Zhan Throwing
Originally uploaded by napoleondd86

4 of 6 Mr Zhan throwing

4 of 6 Mr Zhan throwing
Originally uploaded by napoleondd86

3 of 6 Mr Zhan

3 of 6 Mr Zhan
Originally uploaded by napoleondd86

2 of 6 Mr Zhan throwing

2 of 6 Mr Zhan throwing
Originally uploaded by napoleondd86

Mr zhan first pot egg vase throwing

A throwing demo by a master thrower who is only 31 years old however has been throwing for at least 16 or more years

Studio photos (missing some)

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Sunday free day

Today after 10am we had the rest of the time as a free day and it was totally great, i got my hair washed which was amazing, because its not just a wash, they basically give you a massage from your arm pits on up, its AMAZING! I followed that up with getting a blind man massage which is an actual blind man and they trained to be super good at massage, afterwards i felt like a piece of Tofu, limp from head to toe. ALSO, if you get onto SKYPE, its an internet video or phone chat place, you can give me a call, usually around my pc from 6-7 am and somewhere around 8-11pm, keep in mind that is time here in china, and its 13 hours ahead, and i am under kurt wensmann, all lower case. Skype me i would love to talk. This is all for now i believe, make sure to sign up to follow my blog that way you get notified when i update it HOLLA!!!!!!

BACK DATED! from Shanghai

September 8, 2009
Well let’s just start from the very beginning shall we. To get my trip started off on the right foot I started by first missing my first flight from Minneapolis to Chicago, ok no big deal got put on standby and would arrive in Chicago about an hour and twenty minutes before my next flight, perfect! I sat on the tarmac for over an hour. Got into Chicago finally and got off the plane and sprinted to my flight, Made It with at least 2 minutes to spare! The flight went from Chicago north through Wisconsin, over Lake Winnipeg, through northern Canada, Alaska, over Russia and then come south past Beijing and to Shanghai.
Get in no problems, amazingly enough I have my suitcase as well. We get to the street curb and 10 of us pile into 2 mint green colored van taxi’s and along the way of something like a 45 minute ride I noticed a variety of things about driving. First thing, lanes and staying in your particular one is a very relative thing, lanes are unimportant and unnecessary. A close call accident wise is 4 inches or less, that is when you need to start to worry. I thought that it was fantastic! Oh and the favorite color of Shanghai is Mint green.
The hotel is quite nice, the water however is undrinkable so you have to boil it or have bottled water. The bed is like laying on a box spring but amazingly enough it is that bad, but I don’t recommend lying on your side. The street life at night is crazy, thousands of people roaming the streets, shopping perusing, and people trying to sell you stuff. They are fantastic at copying anything and they do. Dinner the first night was awesome and wild, I had pig ear, a fish and little crabs that I had seen swimming only minutes earlier, shrimp with all the tentacles and shell still on, duck, heart, fermented cabbage, a beef and “green bean” dish that was actually a hot pepper!, dumplings among a variety of other fantastic things, and that was just the FIRST NIGHT! Oh and with every meal as of yet we have had watermelon, which I think is kinda crazy, however it is extremely delicious.
Oh, and to complete with the trains I found out that on the Friday the 11th we will top the 13 hour plane ride with a 16 hour train ride

September 9, 2009, Wednesday
Today we went to the Shanghai Museum which was absolutely fantastic! The ceramic exhibit, which is permanent one, was amazing the pieces were all ones that I have seen in history books and magazines, and textbooks. See the attached video/s. We also went to this gallery district which was great, they had all kinds of contemporary art. My favorite of the galleries was one of a painter who was using making these fantastic paintings into sculptures by making them 3D with paint up to 2 cm thick. The district was awesome gallery after gallery.
I had Peking duck for the first time which was delicious, duck soup, garlic broccoli, chicken red pepper dish, tofu preserved egg, which is black and gross looking but good, deep fried pineapple, covered in sugar served so scorching hot that you had to dip it in cold water prior to eating, also bok choy and fish dumplings.

September 10, 2009, Thursday
Today we went to the Contemporary Art Fair/Exhibit. It was great there was an entire exhibit of Salvador Dali that was pretty crazy amongst a variety of all kinds of other sculpture, both bronze and ceramic, paintings and ceramics of all sorts. It was super fantastic, everything was extremely good, and the place was huge. The other thing that we did was go to a knock-off market, which was pretty wild with everything from any type of clothes, electronics, luggage, jewelry and everything in between. Ipod touch $40, North Face backpack $30, it was wild.
The food of the day was a Japanese fast food restaurant which was pretty fun and the food was very good as well.

My Room and the View outside it! Lunch with Allen (left) and Nick

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009


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Wow is it absolutely wonderful to feel like i am connected to the outside world! China is so amazing and wonderful, nothing that i don't like (well maybe some of the smells that randomly and unexpectedly drift into your nose) other than that its great! Everything has been a whirlwind, its totally crazy, one thing after another that we see or learn. I now know how it feel to be a baby where everything around you is new and exciting and you are trying to take it all in and you can't do it all at once. You guys absolutely have to check out all of the new things i will be uploading starting today. We already had the master thrower come in and show us a demo which you will have to check out in the videos, tomorrow we have a trimmer coming in, they trim everything bone dry so i am looking forward to that. The schedule is packed, it will be a seven day a week ordeal for the next three months. I will also be posting a backdated blog post that i had typed up but couldn't get online to post, it is from the first three days that i was in Shanghai. Also, i will be posting almost daily but for sure twice a week unless we are on a trip so keep up to date with me, lots of awesome photos and videos to check out. i will also attach the rough schedule for the semester so you can have an idea what i am up to in upcoming days. Lastly, thanks for checking up on me as i go on this journey, i appreciate it a lot and please do comment. thanks again