Glenn Schwaiger is on sabbatical in China September-December 2015


Entrance to the “shard market.” A wild place where you can buy anything from fine China to live eels.

The schedule for our week in Jingdezhen. An absolutely amazing line up of cultural and learning experiences. Hey, we came half way around the world – we might as well see it all.

There is no such thing as “too many Maos.” Mold ceramics shop on Pottery Workshop campus.

Arrival in China

Our group from Dona Ana Community College arrived in Hong Kong on May 31 after a 19 hour non-stop flight from Dallas, Texas.  We were all relieved for the opportunity to move about without the confines of an airplane seat.   Our Chinese guide, Maggie, met us at the airport and  helped with the ground transportation to dinner and lodging.

Hong Kong and Guangzhou are very modern cities with many new skyscrapers. This one is one of the tallest in the world, Canton Tower.

In Guangzhou we visited the Oriental Museum and viewed ceramics and porcelain representing thousands of years of Chinese history.  Our travels are coordinated to follow the porcelain manufacturing and trade route from the trade port of Canton (Guangzhou), to the porcelain production center of Jingdezhen. We viewed examples of porcelains from Tang, Han, Song, Yuan, Qing, and Ming dynasties. Also represented in the collection were ink paintings, clocks, opium pipes, calligraphy, and contemporary art.

Deadline for China Trip Extended until February 21st

The deadline for my trip to China has been extended until February 21st AND $500 scholarships are available thanks to the Doña Ana Community College Student Government sponsorship.

ART 294 – Pottery in China is designed to introduce students to the history and culture of China with an emphasis on porcelain trade and manufacturing.  Students will travel the ancient porcelain trade route from Guangzhou to Jingdezhen to Shanghai. In Jingdezhen, students will learn about the materials and techniques unique to porcelain production from local master craftspeople. They will apply what is learned by creating their own porcelain artworks. Visits to historic sites such as Guangzhou, Meiling Pass, Ancient Kiln Museum (Jingdezhen), Yaoli and Gaoling villages (Jiangxi Province), and Shanghai will introduce students to the origins of porcelain production and its influence as a world commodity.


Study Abroad in China

Study Abroad in China in 2018 (May 27-June 14)

$2770 + Airfare


Fall Listed Course at New Mexico State University

ART 294 – Pottery in China is designed to introduce students to the history and culture of China with an emphasis on porcelain trade and manufacturing.  Students will travel the ancient porcelain trade route from Guangzhou to Jingdezhen to Shanghai. In Jingdezhen, students will learn about the materials and techniques unique to porcelain production from local master craftspeople. They will apply what is learned by creating their own porcelain artworks. Visits to historic sites such as Guangzhou, Meiling Pass, Ancient Kiln Museum (Jingdezhen), Yaoli and Gaoling villages (Jiangxi Province), and Shanghai will introduce students to the origins of porcelain production and its influence as a world commodity.

Interested students can contact me 575 525 1625 or gschwaig at nmsu dot edu, or the Study Abroad Office 575.646.5107


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.



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










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.







Arrived in Beijing

On May 27th, I arrived in Beijing, China, managed to navigate the subway, and find my Air BnB located near the lovely Ritan Park pictured below.  I’ll be in China until July 1st and will be spending most of my time in Jingdezhen, the porcelain capital of the world.  It is my hope to post on this blog regularly during my stay in China.

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.



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

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.





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,
CONTACT: Elvira Hammond, 575-646-2377,
CONTACT: Glenn Schwaiger, 575-527-7610,

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.

nmsu confucius speech pstr 2-23-16 cropped

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.

Las_Cruces_Bulletin_20160212_B009_0 copy

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


Huangling Valley – Jiangxi Province

The past week has been eventful with travel to several villages and cultural sites in the Huang Ling Valley of Jiangxi Province.  I began with a visit to the village of Likeng where I stayed for three nights.  Initially, I arrived with several fellow students from West Virginia University, although they decided to return to Jingdezhen the following day.  I stayed on to explore some of the local villages and the countryside.

Likeng village
Likeng village

Farm fields in Likeng
Farm fields in Likeng

In Likeng, I made the acquaintance of Kevin Xu, a twenty-four year old Chinese citizen who had been living and working in Toronto for the past two years.  Kevin had taken leave from his engineering job to travel around China for several months.  His English/Chinese language skills proved a valuable asset for logistics of travel and for visiting with the people we meet.   Kevin and I joined with a Dutch couple to hire a taxi to several villages, cultural sites, a cave, and a hiking trail.  Several photographs of the day-trip are provided below.

Hiking buddies
Hiking Buddies


Hiking Huang Ling valley
Hiking Huang Ling valley


Rainbow Bridge
Rainbow Bridge

After our stay in Likeng, Kevin and I decided to visit the village of Huangling.  It is perched on the side of a mountain overlooking a spectacular terraced agricultural valley.  A cableway moves visitors from the valley floor up to Huangling.  The village maintains its agricultural roots of more than 600 years.  The buildings have been meticulously restored and repurposed to provide an authentic village experience for visitors. The design and implementation of the restoration work was thoughtfully done to maintain the historical nature of Huangling.  Modern amenities have also been provided, including two bridges that span the valley, restaurants, and shops.

Terraces fields near Huangling
Terraces fields near Huangling

We met a Chinese women, Joyce (her ‘English’ name) who was managing the village reading library and doing field research related to her doctoral studies in tourism.  She arranged for us to meet the manager of Huangling, who extended an invitation to Kevin and  I to stay for the evening, have dinner, and be taken on a guided tour of the village the following day.  Joyce asked if I would be willing to be interviewed about my impressions of the village to help with her doctoral research.  We accepted the generous offer and stayed in a beautiful room in a restored building.  The next day we walked around Huangling with the benefit of a guide who showed us some of the prominent residential and public buildings as well as several of the original structures awaiting restoration.

Huangling village
Huangling village

We ate lunch with the owner of the Huangling development, Mr. Wu, who explained how the village had been transformed from a farming community to tourist destination with a focus on historic preservation. After lunch, I answered some questions prepared by Joyce and offered my impressions of the transformation of the village.  We talked about the benefits and challenges of converting an agrarian village into a tourist destination.  Mr. Wu arranged to have a guide take Kevin and I to one of the older villages within walking distance where we observed the contrast between a traditional village and the upgraded Huangling. I was left wondering how a balance can be reached between preserving a simple agrarian life-style with the need for economic development and historic preservation. I am grateful for the hospitality extended by the Huangling village management during our visit.



Dragon and Tiger Mountain (Lung-hu shan), Jiangxi Province

Dragon – Tiger Mountain and Tao Temples 

The past couple weeks have been busy with work in the ceramics studio and settling into a daily routine.  The West Virginia University group took a day trip to Dragon-Tiger Mountain (Lung-hu shan) in Jiangxi Province with Laura Hu, Pottery Workshop Education Center Director, as our very capable guide.  The region is known as a cradle of Taoism – a religion with its origin in China.  Taoism has a pantheon of deities with the Jade Emperor reigning supreme. Numerous temples are situated in a landscape of Danxia geologic formations consisting of many spires of eroded red rock. We visited several temples,  rafted the Lu Xi River, and hiked the cliff-side catwalk which provided breathtaking views.

Dragon Tiger museum
Dragon and Tiger Mountain Museum and Visitor Center


Shangqing Palace_Lingxing gate
Shangqing Palace with Ting Dynasty Lingxing Gate


Jade Emperor temple
Jade Emperor Temple


Prayer tree
Tree festooned with prayer ribbons





Rafting the Lu Xi River










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










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







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


'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.

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






Arrival in Shanghai

September 13, 2015

My journey began before the first light of day at 4:30 am, September 10.  I thanked LeeAnn for her support with a hug and a kiss, said goodbye to the dogs (who surely were expecting an early breakfast), and hitched a ride with Erica Cordero to the El Paso airport.  My flight aboard a Boeing 787 wide-body jet took me north from Dallas, TX across the Western States, into Canada, and over Juneau, Alaska.  The pilot said the plane was new, and by all accounts it was in pristine condition.  A light load of passengers in the coach section allowed for plenty of room to stretch out across three seats.  Lunch was served with the typical complement of wrapped-plastic utensils – and a pair of chopsticks – which served my needs fine and hinted that I was in for some changes ahead.

I am excited for the experiences that lay before me and a bit anxious about the new social and cultural surroundings in China.  I took comfort in knowing there will be plenty of support from the group I am traveling with and from our hosts at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen.

I have been in Shanghai for a couple days, walking the streets, riding the subway, exploring the mazes of shops and eateries, and negotiating a sea of humanity – 20 million strong.  I am impressed by the civility of the people who go about their daily business in an orderly and respectful manner.  I expect the glitziness of Shanghai’s downtown tarnishes as the city sprawls to its neighborhoods.

More to follow as I sort through hundreds of photographs to help illustrate the experience one of the most dynamic and vibrant cities in the world.


Huangpu River sm2
View across Huangpu River, Shanghai







Shanghai street
Nanjing Road, Shanghai








Shanghai group sm
Group of friends on the pedestrian walkway









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:









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