Jingdezhen 景德镇 town of ceramic dreams
(INKSTON is helping to distribute some artworks from these young ceramic artists. These products are now available on both inkston.com and Handmade Project of Amazon US, UK, ES, and will be available on Amazon IT and FR. We hope these young artists are able to communicate with more people from different cultures. )
Almost one year ago, I met a girl named Jiajia at a Japanese art glass work exhibition in Shanghai. She was wearing a simple light pink cotton dress, short-haired, wearing a couple of silver bracelets which were obviously handcrafted with very delicate skills. Not knowing why, I started talking with her immediately. She told me that she quit her job as a designer at a a very fast-developing Chinese IT firm and she spent half a year studying ceramic arts at Jingdezhen.
Ever since then, we became good friends even if we only met caught up a few times over the last year. Jiajia mentioned many times about her art pursuit and life in Jingdezheng. I suppose it is the passion about arts which shone from her eyes that has intrigued my curiosity to know more about Jingdezheng. So when, Jiajia sent me one message telling me that she is in Jingdezheng organising her own studio. I decided to visit this city.
Jingdezhen has been extremely famous for ceramic production for hundreds years. It is neither the first place to produce ceramic nor the first place to produce ceramic for royals. Nevertheless, ever since Qing dynasty, Jingdezhen almost became the symbol of Best ceramic craftsmanship in the world. I once visited great museums in Europe, surprisingly, you always feel very strong Chinese touch in European arts. For example, the Versailles has a Chinese room, so do Spanish and English royal palaces. I guess it might be very trendy in first class society to own a Chinese room. Therefore, you also see Chinese elements in Austria, Belgium, and then Bavaria forests.
In the end I spent three days in Jingdezheng but I have a very strong feeling that I shall come back many times and spend more days here. This is simply because I saw dreams of young artists, I feel the passion for arts and great ceramic craftsmanship at the place.
If I was asked to make a comparison between Jingdezhen and any other city in the world, I would choose Berlin without even half second hesitation. The once Mayor of Berlin had a very famous comment that went something like “ Berlin is poor but it is Berlin and I love it!” It is a simple comment but it carries so much emotion and love. I once lived in Berlin and I fell in love of this city’s spirit. In Berlin, as I have always been telling my friends, you can find the highest concentration of artists. There are so many artist communities and all of them are open to each other. Great tolerance and open minded would be the keyword I want most to tag Berlin city with. Now, I found another Berlin in the east. That is Jingdezhen.
There are two major ceramic markets in Jingdezhen. One is at the ancient state-owned ceramic factory site and the other one is at another once state-owned factory.the first market is called Le Tian, means happy day. The other one is called Tao Xi Chuan. It sounds like mountain and river of ceramics. These two markets are for young artist to sell their work. Most of things are handmade unique piece. On average one piece takes one week time to complete. If the weather is. To good, it would be two or three weeks time.
In these markets, it is very common to see young couples like Ankl and his girlfriend. Living poorly but happily. The good thing is that living cost is very low in Jingdezheng so young artist can make a living relatively easily. However, still many young artist need financial support from their parents. For young people whose parents are not able to support them, their life can be tough. Being an artist is luxury in many ways. You have to have a lot of time, energy and resources to create art.