Ceramics

Empty Bowls 2017

This Vinca Bowl, made of porcelain and colored slip, was created during the summer of 2017 as part of my artist residency at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China.  I am donating this platter to the Empty Bowls silent action (information below).  If you live in Las Cruces, NM , then consider attending the benefit on October 20th from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. to provide for the hungry.

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Chinese Contemporary Art and Historic Influences

Glenn Schwaiger, will highlight his recent travels to China

and discuss ancient traditional Chinese pottery

and how it has, and continues to influence contemporary art.

Lecture is free and open to the public.

Date and Time: Wednesday, October 4 at 2:30 PM – 4 PM

Location: Branigan Cultural Center, 500 N Water St. Las Cruces, NM 88001

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Upcoming Panel Discussion on August 9th

I’m back stateside and

will be part of a panel

discussion this Wednesday,

August 9th from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

at the Las Cruces Museum of Fine Art,

490 Water St, Las Cruces, NM 88001.

Come meet the other artists

and learn about the

From the Ground Up Ceramics Show.

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La Placita Development off the Table

At thisdsc_1821 time the Las Cruces City Manager, Stuart Ed, has decided not to grant a lease to the developer to fence an area of the La Placita Corridor. He encouraged the developer that if they wanted to move forward that they could take it to the Mayor and City Council. Stuart Ed felt La Placita is unified experience and the art and the space are integrated into one experience and valued by the community.

Time Sensitive Decision on La Placita

dsc_8957The City of Las Cruces is considering a proposal to lease about 85% of the sidewalk on the north side of La Placita to a private developer. La Placita is not a park, but instead considered a right of way like a road or a sidewalk. Yesterday, the developer revealed a new plan (see photo). The business is required by law to install a permanent fence since they plan to sell alcohol. The fence would be 6-12 inches away from the Sun and Earth ceramic mosaic.  The fence will be opaque and about 42 inches tall. On Monday December 12th the City Manager will announce his decision, it will not go to City Council.
The main changes that will occur will be that 2 of the 5 planters will be removed on the north side and 2 of the 5 will become part of the leased property. Only one plantar will be accessible for public seating. In the photo pictured, the entire sidewalk on the left side would be fenced. How would a fence change you experience of the mosaic? City Manager, Stuart C. Ed at sed@las-cruces.org by 11 am Monday morning.
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La Placita, ‘Earth and Cosmos’ mosaic may be fenced

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The City of Las Cruces is considering a proposal to lease part of La Placita Park and Earth and Cosmos mosaic to a private developer. The business is required by law to install a permanent fence since they plan to sell alcohol. This decision will not go to the City Council. The decision to lease La Placita and give permission for a private business to fence off part of the park is at the discretion of the City Manager.

If you would like to make your thoughts known, please contact the new City Manager, Stuart C. Ed at sed@las-cruces.org by this Thursday.

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New DACC Ceramics Lab to Hold Open House

Glenn Hands while throwingDona Ana Community College (DACC) will hold an open house to showcase a new ceramics studio. The Open House will be held from 3:30-5:30 on Friday, December 2 at the Workforce Center at 2345 East Nevada Street, Las Cruces, NM.

“The new laboratory provides the equipment necessary to complete all phases of ceramic production from preparing clay, forming and decorating ceramic wares and glaze firing finished art works,” said Art Professor Glenn Schwaiger. “Previously we were teaching classes at the Las Cruces Museum of Art. We appreciate the museum letting us work there but classes were limited by space and growth potential, so to have this new lab will help our students immensely.”

The lab features three electric kilns, a raku kiln, and a natural-gas shuttle kiln. The three different types of kilns enable students to explore firing techniques and atmospheres. The studio also has nine electric and two electric/kick potters wheels which are used to form clay into symmetrical shapes such as cups, bowls and vases.

The studio features a slab roller, clay extruder, student storage and new work tables. A well-equipped glaze room for formulating and preparing ceramic slips and glazes helps students finish their work. Rounding out the lab equipment are a clay mixer and pug mill.

DACC ceramics classes include ART 275 and ART 276, complimentary courses that introduce the techniques of hand-building, wheel throwing and glazing. High-fire and low-fire clays are used. The classes will be offered days, evenings and on Saturday during the spring 2017 semester.

Schwaiger, recently returned from Jingdezhen, China where he observed and was inspired by artists whose lineage in porcelain production dates back to the Song Dynasty (960-1269). Schwaiger believes that his three-month study of Chinese art history, culture, and ceramics will enhance his ability to teach students about ceramic arts.

“We invite the community to come and see our new studio,” Schwaiger said.

Contact: Glenn Schwaiger (575) 527-7752

Photo by LeeAnn Meadows

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Lecture Today

CarrymanHandcrafted Porcelain in China: Collaborative Processes and Methods this Thursday, June 23rd, at 6 p.m. at the Shannon Room at Branigan Cultural Center, 501 North Main Street, Las Cruces, NM

Glenn Schwaiger, artist and Full Professor at NMSU/DACC, recently completed a three-month study of Chinese art history, culture, and ceramics in Jingdezhen, China. He will present photographic highlights of his travel in China and discusses the unique collaborative working methods of porcelain production in Jingdezhen.

Jingdezhen has been a major center for Imperial, domestic, and export porcelain for more than 1000 years. Ceramic artists in Jingdezhen perfected the materials and processes required to produce porcelain during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Today, skilled craftspeople work in concert to produce a broad range of porcelain objects from simple production wares to large-scale sculptures.

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Photo Set Up

Photo Set up croppedMy wife, LeeAnn, has been taking digital photography classes for a couple of years.  Instead of buying professional lighting, she asked me to help her hang a piece of insulation from the ceiling to act as a reflector and to install a pulley for a gray seamless backdrop.

Here is a photo of the set up with 90 watt LED bulbs clipped on to the edge of the table and of one of my pots that I made last year.  The only caveat is that she has to photograph when it is dark out, to control the lighting, as my studio is full of natural light.  Stay tuned as she plans to take more photos of my work. . .

 

 

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Handmade in China Lecture on YouTube

The February 23rd, 2016 lecture, Handcrafted Porcelain in China: Collaborative Processes and Methods, was recorded by the Creative Media Technology Students at Doña Ana Community College.

If you live in Las Cruces and want to see this presentation live, please note this upcoming lecture:

Handcrafted Porcelain in China: Collaborative Processes and Methods

Lecture, Thursday, June 23rd 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Branigan Cultural Center, 500 N. Water Street

 

Doña Ana Community College Art Reception and Save the Date for Lecture

160428 Art Opening

 

Please join me to celebrate art at Doña Ana Community College this Thursday, April 28th from 4:30-6:00 p.m.

The artwork of Míhaíl Chemíakin, a Russian artist currently exiled in France, is on display in the Main Building Mezzanine at the DACC East Mesa Campus. Chemíakin’s unique colorful and playful prints are reminiscent of Cubist and Surrealist styles.  In the Mezzanine, I have a display case highlighting traditional ceramics from China and several of the works I made during my sabbatical in Jingdezhen. The printmaking students of Ouida Touchon have a lovely display case also.

 

 

Save the DATE I will be speaking in Las Cruces about:

Handcrafted Porcelain in China: Collaborative Processes and Methods

Lecture, Thursday, June 23rd 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Branigan Cultural Center, 500 N. Water Street

Evening and Weekend Ceramic Classes at Doña Ana Community College

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Doña Ana Community College is investing in a brand-new, fully equipped Ceramics Lab at the Workforce Center, 2345 E. Nevada St. Las Cruces, NM.  I have worked with the architects and DACC/NMSU Facilities to design a first class lab, which will be operational for Fall Semester 2016.  Best of all, DACC will expand the course offerings.  I’ll be teaching daytime, evening and weekend ceramics classes.

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Learn how to:

  • hand-build and use a potter’s wheel
  • decorate and glaze ceramic wares
  • load and fire gas and electric kilns

Register now- classes begin August 17th

The following classes are open to everyone and there are no prerequisites:

Art 275 T/Th 12:30-3:00 p.m.

Art 276 T/Th 5:30-8:00 p.m.

Art 275 Saturday 12:00-5:00 p.m.

 

For more info contact: Glenn Schwaiger gschwaig@nmsu.edu or 575-525-1625

If you are over 65 and a NM resident,
you pay $5 per credit hour (additional
fees may apply).  Here is the link for tuition information: Reduced Tuition for Senior Citizens

 

 

 

Wonderful Audience

Thank you to the generous Las Cruces audience in attendance for my presentation this evening.  It was heartwarming to see so many supportive friends and the ceramics community.  Appreciation to the NMSU Confucius Institute and the Department of Art for sponsoring the event and special thanks to Elvira Mason, Jacky Wu and my wife, LeeAnn.  The presentation was videotaped and will be available in time at New Mexico State Confucius Institute website.

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Presentation Tonight

For those of you in Las Cruces, I wanted to remind you that my lecture is tonight at 6 p.m.  Parking is free after 4:30 p.m. on Campus.

Here is a Google map link and the press release:

Handcrafted Chinese porcelain topic of NMSU Confucius Institute presentation

DATE: 02/05/2016
WRITER: Adriana M. Chavez, 575-646-1957, adchavez@nmsu.edu
CONTACT: Elvira Hammond, 575-646-2377, ehammond@nmsu.edu
CONTACT: Glenn Schwaiger, 575-527-7610, gschwaig@nmsu.edu

Glenn Schwaiger, an artist and associate professor at New Mexico State University and Dona Ana Community College, will present highlights of his latest trip to Jingdezhen, China, during a presentation later this month.

Schwaiger’s presentation, “Handcrafted Porcelain in China: Collaborative Processes and Methods,” will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 in the NMSU Health and Social Services Building Auditorium, Room 101. The presentation is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the NMSU Confucius Institute and the NMSU Department of Art.

Schwaiger recently completed a three-month study of Chinese art history, culture, and ceramics in Jingdezhen, China.

“In every nook and cranny of Jingdezhen, there’s someone working with porcelain,” Schwaiger said about what he observed during his trip. “Craftspeople specialize in more than 70 different skills, such as making clay, pottery, molds, brushes and decorating.”

Schwaiger also said the collaborative spirit is “alive today in the porcelain capital of the world.”

Jingdezhen has been a major center for Imperial, domestic, and export porcelain for more than 1,000 years. Ceramic artists in Jingdezhen perfected the materials and processes required to produce porcelain during the Song Dynasty from 960 to 1279. Today, skilled craftspeople work in together to produce a broad range of porcelain objects from simple production wares to large-scale sculptures.

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Handmade in China

Here is a sampling of a few items that I made when in China in 2015.

Vinca Bottle

 

Vinca Bottle, mishima decoration (a Japanese technique) on porcelain

Vinca platter Carved Vinca Platter, celadon glaze on porcelainyixing tea potModern Interpretation of a Yixing Teapot, stoneware

Las Cruces Bulletin Article

A big thank you to Alta LeCompte for a lovely article about my time in China!

This article is published in the Las Cruces Bulletin, February 12, 2016 edition on page B9.

Below the image of the article there is larger text so that you can read it more easily.

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Schwaiger to share Jingdezhen experiences

By Alta LeComtpe

Las Cruces Bulletin

Artist and educator Glenn Schwaiger went to great lengths — 7,294 miles to be exact — to bring to Las Cruces a new understanding of ceramics and culture in Jingdezhen, China.

The city has been China’s center of ceramics production for 1,000 years.

Schwaiger, an associate professor who leads the fine arts ceramics curriculum at Doña Ana Community College, will present a talk Tuesday, Feb. 23, on the work of Jingdezhen potters, who have been creating and exporting porcelain for more than 1,000 years.

The lecture will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Room 101, the Health and Sciences Auditorium on the New Mexico State University campus.

In late 2015, Schwaiger spent three months living and working among the ceramic artists of Jingdezhen.

The place where they live and work is called a factory, as is any place of production, Schwaiger said.

Inside the Jingdezhen ceramics factory, craftsmen use a team approach to creating their pieces.

“Each craftsman does a specific skill, from preparing the clay to working with the wheel to trimming the clay,” Schwaiger said. “There are more than 70 distinctive skills, each done by a different person.”

The system of having each person do what they do best makes sense to Schwaiger.

He said the system is efficient, cost effective and also creates social benefits.

“People learn from each other and a sense of community is created,” he said. “That’s enriching for a work environment.”

Seeing Jingdezhen through an artist’s eyes

Those who attend the lecture will see slides of the Jingdezhen potters at work and at leisure, as well as images of their creations and follow Schwaiger’s adventures in and around the city.

“I’ve always been interested in ceramics from Japan, China and Korea,” Schwaiger said. “I wanted to experience something different and new, geographically and culturally.”

During his time in Jingdezhen, Schwaiger stayed in a hostel that was part of the ceramics factory. The factory included the work area and also a kitchen where meals were prepared for the artisans.

“It was some of the best food I ate in Jingdezhen,” Schwaiger said.

Since the pottery workshop kitchen did not serve breakfast, Schwaiger ventured out — usually on his bicycle — for his morning meal.

“Bicycling is faster than walking and reasonably safe,” he said. “The traffic can be very dense. People drive across the grain and scooters cut across traffic. If you’re a pedestrian, you’re like a stone in the river. Traffic just flows around you.”

He enjoyed sampling the food of street vendors, especially sweet potatoes cooked in their portable charcoal ovens, which they transported by pedal-driven wagon.

“I had favorite vendors who would want me to stop and say hi,” Schwaiger said. “If I was on my bike, I would strap the sweet potato on to a little rack.”

Bringing art to the community

At the ceramics factory, Schwaiger attended workshops by local master artists, who demonstrated the technique for Qinghua — blue on white porcelain, a technique many people associate with China.

Like other artists who come from all over the world to work in Jingdezhen, Schwaiger did his own studio work, primarily in porcelain with celadon glaze.

“We worked with porcelain, a fine, pure clay that is translucent and glasslike when fired,” he said.

Schwaiger’s trip was arranged by the Ceramics in China Study Abroad Program at the University of West Virginia in partnership with the Pottery Workshop, an educational facility to foster learning among international artists.

He was part of a group of 10 students visiting Jingdezghen. Although he himself was a student on this trip, his companions called him “uncle” or “shifu,” which means master.

Schwaiger is an associate professor at DACC, where he built the ceramics program from scratch.

He began his teaching career in 1992. Prior to taking a position with DACC, he taught at El Paso Community College and UTEP.

In addition to teaching at DACC and at his studio, he has for 10 years worked on art projects that involve public participation. He has led the creation of public art in the Gadsden public schools as well as in Las Cruces and Albuquerque. Among his public projects was the design and execution of the tile mural in La Placita Downtown in 2011 with his students and members of the public. As part of his current sabbatical year, he is restoring the mural.

“I bring the materials and tools and work with students to develop the design and do tile fabricating for a mural or sculpture,” he said. “As many people as possible have an art experience.”

Alta LeCompte can be reached at alta@lascrucesbulletin or 680-1840

 

Ceramics in China – learning the ropes


September 25, 2015

The past two weeks in Jingdezhen have been busy with Chinese ceramic art history classes each morning presented by Shoji Satake.  Afternoons were dedicated to workshops with local masters demonstrating carving, mold making, overglaze decoration, and Qinghua (qīng-huā  – cobalt ‘blue flowers’) underglaze techniques.  Visits to local craftsperson’s studios and demonstrations in the Pottery Workshop provided an introduction to tools and techniques used on porcelain wares.

Everyone in Jingdezhen specializes in a particular aspect of porcelain production.  It is taking   some time for me to adjust because I am accustomed to preparing my own materials and doing all of my own fabrication.  Although it would be possible for one person to do everything here, it is impractical.

Hundreds of small shops specialize in clay preparation, jigger-jolly production, glazing, brush-making, slip casting, overglaze decorating, decals, and the list goes on.  Entire streets are dedicated to one aspect of the process, decal street, glaze street, and so forth.

Similarly, one can find concentrations of hardware stores, scooter sales, metal and welding shops, and every imaginable combination of these, one after the other along the streets.  Shop owners weld, repair scooters, and make furniture in cramped spaces with their work extending out onto the sidewalks.  Entrepreneurship appears everywhere – it is more reminiscent of Mexico than the United States.  Prices are almost always negotiable.

I visited the ancient kiln museum in Jingdezhen with the West Virginia University group.  The museum has an original Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) kiln and several examples of kilns from other regions of China. The museum also has a Buddhist temple for kiln gods, a workshop with potters demonstrating forming and decorating techniques, and a showroom of historic and contemporary porcelains.

Hardware shops
Hardware shops
Mold maker
Plaster mold maker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mao
A side-street overglaze decorator replicating a tile portrait of Mao Tse-tung

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overglaze
Overglaze decorating at the Jingdezhen ancient kiln museum

 

 

 

Qing kiln
Qing Dynasty Imperial kiln – one of only a few ancient kilns remaining
Qing kiln interior
Interior of Qing kiln

 

 

 

 

Steamed bun kiln
Steamed-bun kiln. Named for its shape reminiscent of a steamed bun
Dragon kiln. Not indigenous to Jingdezhen, but used elsewhere in China
Yuan Dynasty (1260-1368) dragon kiln – reconstruction

 

 

 

Arrival in Jingdezhen

September 15-19 2015

A 15 hour train ride from Shanghai arrived in Jingdezhen at 4 am on Sept 15.  We had a sleeper car which provided the eleven travelers in our group a chance to rest along the way.   The train trip offered an opportunity to visit, play cards, and for some the sampling of a traditional grain alcohol called Báijiǔ.  The aroma alone was enough to satiate my curiosity.  I picked up the beginnings of a cold in Shanghai and fought it for several days in Jingdezhen.  Thankfully, I am on the rebound and feeling better.

Jingdezhen (JDZ) is a city of 1.6 million people, 400,000 are involved in some aspect of  the ceramic industry.  Since the Song Dynasty 960-1279, Jingdezhen ceramic production has been accomplished by the coordinated efforts of specialists in the skills of forming, trimming, decorating, and firing.  Even today, individual craftspeople rely on the efforts of their neighbors to provide help during the production process.  Typically, a craftsperson trains in a specific skill that becomes their specialty – decorating in blue and white for instance.  In the few days since arriving in Jingdezhen, I have been introduced to kiln firers, a tile maker, underglaze decorator, relief carver, clay preparer, and jigger-jolly operator. The locals are curious about us Western visitors and have been extremely gracious in allowing me to take photographs.  They often express thanks for my interest and I typically show them the picture from the back of the camera.

JDZ street
Jingdezhen street

 

Card game
Card game
3 boys
Three boys
Carryman
Carryman
'Mick Jagger' and his kiln
‘Mick Jagger’ and his kiln
Soft clay after pugging
Soft clay after pugging

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went with the West Virginia University (WVU) group to visit the Qinghualinglong manufacturing facility where porcelain wares decorated with cobalt decals and a distinctive rice-grain translucent pattern are made.  It is the only workshop in JDZ currently making the rice-grain wares.  Thousands of simple bowl and plates filled the workspace as craftspeople formed, decorated, and glazed the work with great skill and efficiency.  I was surprised by the amount of handwork needed to make the pots.  The workers graciously allowed us to gather around their stations to take photographs during the visit.  I think they enjoyed having visitors in the workshop.

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Qinghualinglong factory
Bowls and plates with some wrapped for shipping
Thousands of finished bowls and plates, some wrapped for shipping

Our group eats two meals a day at a local restaurant.  The food has been exceptional and the ‘family’ style dining offers time to share our experiences from the day.  Delicious food of great variety is also available from street vendors.  Despite my wife, LeeAnn’s, concerns about patronizing street vendors, it is common practice among locals, ex-pats, and our group. Commonsense and a little luck seems to be the recipe for good eating so far.  One of the unusual foods with an endless variety of preparation is the lotus root.  Fresh fruit is also abundant from mobile wagons and countless small shops.  Oranges are in season and sweet potatoes are expected soon.

Group meal at local restaurant
Group meal at local restaurant

 

 

 

 

 

Ceramics in China

Saturday, September 5, 2015


 

I am taking sabbatical from teaching at Dona Ana Community College in the coming year to study porcelain production in Jingdezhen, China.  I will be traveling and studying with a small group of students and ceramics professor Shoji Satake from West Virginia University from September 10-December 14, 2015.  WVU coordinates a Ceramics in China study abroad program in partnership with the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen.  Upon my return to New Mexico in late December, 2015 I will turn my attention to creative work in the studio inspired by the experience of living and working in China.

The last couple weeks have been busy with the myriad of preparations, from medical records, travel paperwork, internet VPN access, and new electronic gadgets to become familiar with.  My wife, Lee Ann’s help has been indispensable in organizing all of the resources that I need for travel.  We have observed that it is not such a simple task to ‘go to China’.

Loading a motorized utility tricycle with slip-cast ware in the Old Factory, Jingdezhen
Photo courtesy: http://gracenickel.ca/journal/2012/10/jingdezhen-ceramic-production/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, I am already feeling a little homesick for the familiar environment of Las Cruces, New Mexico.  A couple photographs are included in this post to help remind me of the landscape and motor court apartments that have represented a sense of ‘home’ for the past twenty-plus years.

Picacho Peak21023781176_11971fc113