Posts Tagged With: ceramics

NOODLES AND THE WILDGOOSE PAGODA

Before leaving the Terra Cotta Soldiers, one must visit the Provincial Shaanxi History Museum nearby. It gives visitors a timeline of Chinese civilization from homo erectus to modern China.  But, the real reason to visit the museum is for their fabulous noodle lunch. I’m not kidding. In fact watching them make the noodles is almost better than eating them.

The long noodles are made by a strong young man who grabs this huge rectangular hunk  of dough, separates it in the middle forming a dough circle, and then he stretches and stretches and stretches the dough until it’s about four feet long and it suddenly breaks into noodles. Then he plops the whole mass  into a boiling pot of broth.  It defies reason. The guy was mobbed and one could barely get close enough to get a picture as you jostle in line to get your food.
Flat noodles are made by another strong fellow. He begins with a roll about twice this size in diameter and rapidly slices noodles off with a special tool directly into a pot of boiling broth.

The other best reason to visit, in my opinion, was their exquisite ceramics. The facial expression of the driver and the posture of the camel-so realistic. (Click to enlarge pictures.)

In this glazed piece, the accoutrements and the horse’s hooves are particularly stunning.

Only in China would you find a dragon handled pot.  I took 19 photos and uploaded them at:   https://picasaweb.google.com/106530979158681190260/200610XianPottery

After lunch we visited the Small Wildgoose Pagoda.

This small, plain Pagoda survives  from the Tang Dynasty. The monks studied and copied manuscripts here. One monk walked them all the way from India. A monk here was starving. (They are not allowed to ask for food.) A wild goose flew into the pagoda and couldn’t get out. When it died, he ate it. Thus the name. A Pagoda serves as a temple. The grounds are very spacious and we saw people meeting here, and exercising here. Many shops line the area selling home crafted paintings, jade, glasswork and beads. Rings to tether horses are seen about the place from the old times.

Typical of China, the public areas are beautiful and very useful for multiple functions.

In this complex is a beautiful bell. We all took a turn trying to push the heavy timber to ring the bell. It barely made a sound. It takes about ten strong men to make it ring. It was used to send messages high up into the mountains and surrounding forests.

We left the grounds and visited a Jade factory.

The jade was beautiful, but we couldn’t help but notice the workers uncomfortable working conditions.

Lunch was 23 different dumplings cooked in this hot pot. Meals are typically served  at these round tables with a turntable in the middle where dishes are shared around the group. Dinner at our hotel was a special Thai meal of two curries, fruits, meats, stir fry and bread pudding. We were so full we couldn’t do our dinner justice.

For more information about the Wildgoose Pagoda click the link: http://www.china.org.cn/english/TR-e/43175.htm

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A LOOK BACK AT MARYHILL

Yesterday, we left Stephenson, WA and drove to Vancouver.  I spent two hours at the Maryhill Museum and thought I’d display some of their ceramics and glassware. The collection is not massive. They also have a crafts collection. The beaded vase above is the only item that “spoke” to me from the collection which had a mix of furnishings, jewelry and other objects.

One case contained a collection of antique glassware like the vase above. Some beautiful stuff worth a trip out if its your favorite “thing.” I have a friend who collects antique glass and its lovely, delicate, highly prized stuff.

Ceramics are among my favorite things. The collection here isn’t extensive and I may have snapped a picture of  every pot and bowl they had. What’s nice is they are all originals.

A sculpin fish teapot was my favorite.

My friend Donna Voorhees makes similar lidded bowls and I own one. I use it for one thing, to make bread pudding. Somehow, the bread pudding, my own recipe, turns out best when baked in this type of  bowl.

I own a yellow bowl, not as pretty as this plate. Yellow is one of my favorite colors and not all that common with ceramicists. Mine I use for pasta dishes with a cream base and a sprig of bright green garnish.

This piece has a lot of character and appears to be Adam and Eve enjoying the fruits of their table.

Glass work I know nothing about except that it takes a special type of furnace to work with it. The results are beautiful. The Maryhill collection was quite conservative. I’ve seen spectacular fused glass in galleries all over the U.S. that appeal to me.  The vase, (below) was wonderfully iridescent, fused, my favorite from the collection and I’d like to take it home.

The next couple days, I will be visiting with Damiann Kegney, a friend of my son’s.

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STONEHENGE AND MARYHILL


Who would have thought a Stonehenge was located in Washington? Samuel Hill, the man who promoted and built the wonderful Highway 30, also built this replica of Stonehenge. Remember to keep the Sams straight. Samuel Lancaster was the architect and designer, it was his dream and vision for the many looped highway through the Columbia Gorge. It was his builder, Samuel Hill who performed the task.  As a business man, he claimed good roads “..are my religion.”

Hill was a pacifist Quaker; he saw Stonehenge in England where it was thought, at the time, to be a place of pagan ritual and human sacrifice. He remarked,”…the flower of humanity is still being sacrificed on the field of battle.” He thereupon chose to build a replica of the “sacrificial altar” as a memorial to the soldiers from Klickitat County, WA. who died in WWI. He is buried close by.

It sits atop a windy hillside two miles from where he built a home, Maryhill, named for his daughter. Placed with beautiful views of the Columbia River, he owned over 5,000 acres for a Quaker agricultural colony he started. He never lived in the mansion  and instead made it into a museum at the prodding of a famous actress/dancer  friend of his, Loie Fuller who is well represented at this fabulous museum. Wikipedia has a load of information about this dynamic man at the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Hill .

While the museum is slightly remote, it attracts a great following and support.  Permanent collections and temporary exhibits, a yearly high tea with a hat and accessories auction, educational lectures, workshops and exhibits make this a must see for any art lover.  It is undergoing expansion because Maryhill is bursting at the seams.

One room is devoted to the furnishings of the Royal Palace of Romania. Queen Marie was a special friend of his and she helped found the museum and came for the grand opening. A replica of her crown is here, pictures and other grand treasures as well.

So perfect was this bronze sculpture of a young man that Rodin was accused of plastering the body of the live model. He was eventually exonerated.  One Eve sculpture, Rodin complained that he couldn’t get the stomach right, he kept having to change it every time the model posed. It turned out she was pregnant.

There is much here, glass…

ceramics,

a sculpture garden,

a huge collection of Indian artifacts of astounding quality. Beadwork,

exquisite basketry.

It was so thorough, I believe every western Indian tribe was represented in this huge collection.  But for me, the real stars of Maryhill are those unusual things you see nowhere else.

Theatre La Mode, a collection of miniature French designer mannequins is staged against wire backdrops of famous Paris icons.

This display is from 1946 and the art and craft of building them is no longer done.

The faces are made of wax and hair is made from real hair, string and other fibers.

A second collection, chess pieces and boards, was unusual. It’s common to find a chess or game board in a painting or a set belonging to some famous person. Here are multiple sets of unusual variety.

An unusual contemporary set of pieces unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

If chess is your game, don’t miss a collection such as this one with over 30 different sets.  I took way too many pictures. I’ll organize them in segments for later blogs.  Maryhill-such a find!

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AFFORDABLE WORKS OF ART

 

Every year at Christmas time, the Calaveras County Arts Council encourages artists to provide affordable works of art. The Arts Council Gallery is located on Main St. in San Andreas and I’ve peeked inside to give you an idea of what is available.

Here find a variety of ceramics, vases, teapots, mugs, planters, a painted wall hanging and whimsical decorations.

Affordably priced, something original and exciting, makes for a great gift.

You will find all manner of paintings, large and small. Much to choose from and this is just one wall.

photographs-

Original cards and jewelry.

The gallery is open all year long.  Throughout the year, the staff hangs special exhibits featuring various talents. Their gallery/office hours are 9-4 Mon. through Fri. Sat. 11-3.
The arts are alive and well in Calaveras with musical events, shows, dinners and seasonal programming. For instance, right now tickets are available for a Christmas special, The Nutcracker. Tickets can be ordered by phone. 209-754-1774.  Visit their website at:  /http://www.calaverasarts.org/
for more information. A strong arts community is a healthy community.

Two large paintings by Giles, normally sell in the $1,700 range. They are affordably priced at $700 each during the Christmas Boutique. Not exactly affordable for most people, but certainly a bargain for this artist.

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UNVEILING THE DRAGON

The dragon is not always a symbol of fierceness. The Lakota people consider the dragon a symbol of retreat; to journey inward to your own center of peace and quiet. Sharon Armstrong is a psychologist who does art work with her patients. Her strength is in mask making. For years she has taught people to make their own faces in a mask.  It helps people clarify who they are and where they are going. Working on it provides them a kinship with themselves and others. But, for the Burning Man, held the Monday before Labor Day each year in the desert, Sharon built a 23 foot tall dragon. Sharon returned home and erected it in her mother’s garden at the Center for Creativity and Community in San Andreas.

The dragon’s name is Uncegila and is surrounded by a labyrinth. The unveiling was held Sunday and people came to walk the labyrinth and visit the Center, the Gallery, housed in a 100 year old restored barn, and the Garden.

Sharon, on the left, with Madalaine Krska, showed everyone around the Center which came about in an unusual way. Her mother, Floy, heard Sharon on a television interview comment that she wished she could found a Center for Creativity and Community. Floy decided right then and there that she could make that come true. Floy took her rental at 23 West St. Charles Place in San Andreas, and is helping her daughter  transform the building into a non-profit Community Center. There is space for art work, teaching ceramics, photography, creative writing, video, painting, drawing, mask making and music.  Their vision is to provide a gathering place for people of all ages to explore and express their unique creativity regardless of their ability to pay.

The Center is just getting started, but classes have already underway. Nanette Klass teaches drawing.

Ruth Nicols teaches harp and Tai Chi.

Floy’s vegetable and flower garden was planted by area children.

Sharon teaches mask making; and her husband, George, teaches landscape painting.

But you don’t have to be an artist to enjoy the center. My brother Bill, above, joined me and walked the labyrinth around the dragon. Eventually, the gazebo with a fountain and picnic area will be open to the public. The lovely Victorian House can hold an audience of 30 people for performance events. Two sound proof rooms allow people quiet space for writing or music lessons.

Or, like me, you can lie in the hammock and relax and contemplate the dragon from afar. The website is:  http://www.center4creativity

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