ENGLAND: BBC and V&A announce major new year-long partnership, Handmade In Britain, WebWire – This is quite exciting news…”the BBC and V&A today announce Handmade In Britain, a year-long season of programming that will be the most wide-ranging and ambitious exploration of decorative arts ever to be undertaken on British television.” Ceramics is one of the mediums to be covered in the undertaking which spans Fall 2011-12. Britain has such a rich history with arts and crafts, this is sure to be an amazing effort. “Three, three-part series and a selection of individual hour-long films”
CENTRAL ASIA: Earthquake Damages Rishtan Pottery Studios, HAND/EYE – An underpublicized earthquake “has severely impacted the ability of the Rishtan potters to earn their livelihood.” The Fergana Valley, hit by a 6.1-magnitude earthquake in July, overlays areas in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. “Rishtan pottery is known for its intricate turquoise, blue and white designs said to be patterned after Chinese porcelain originally traded along the Silk Road.” HAND-EYE magazine is soliciting donations to help potters in the area, in much the same way as others asked for help after the Japanese earthquake.
USA: Antiques & Collectibles: Beer stein lids came from health regulations, News Times – I have, on occasion, wondered about these additions to heavy German beer mugs, but thought they were merely decorative. Come to find out, they were a preventive measure during the bubonic plague during the 1300s, which killed 25 million Europeans. “An influx of flies in Europe in the 1400s led to laws that required food to be kept in covered containers. A hinged lid was added to a mug to make a stein.”
KOREA: Korean Pottery: Syle Shaped by Tradition, War, Rosemont Patch – A brief look at the history of Korean pottery. Covers celadon, the Joseon Dynasty, Buncheong ware, and Baek-jah.
USA: Clarice Cliff pottery: Colorful creations, many focusing on nature, Philadelphia Inquirer, “Part of the artist’s skill was her clever adaption of pattern to form. Profiles for vases and tableware range from rounded undulations to jagged points. One characteristic shape is the highly collectible conical sugar shaker decorated with various motifs.” I must say, I was struck by the combination of shapes, decoration styles, and colors when I saw the photos of Cliff’s work from the 20th century. Amazing and beautiful. What a gifted woman!
CHINA: Demons, dragons and redemption, China Daily – “The most precious piece of china in the Nanjing Museum is a squat, muddy-looking urn shaped like a toothy beast with spindly limbs and a tiny ball between tongue and teeth. It is also a unique piece, one of a kind.” I like the photo of this urn which has an effigy similar to those found on ancient First Nations urns in North America. This one dates to 302 CE.
JAPAN: Japanese brothers who championed Korean ceramics, The Japan Times – History is full of dissension between Japan, Korea, and China, so stories about harmonious relations are often hard to find. This particular story is quite touching. It is about a perilous time, 1910, when Japan annexed Korea. The story concerns “two Japanese brothers who stood by Koreans and dedicated their lives to preserving the heritage, traditional culture and pride of the local people through the field of ceramics and crafts.”
INDIA: Polluters under pressure: Potters told to clean up or ship out, The Express Tribune – The government has issued an order, but the potters are disputing it. “The potters have until just after Eid to relocate or install scrubbers in their kilns.” At issue is the use of fuel that causes air pollution. Unbelievably, the kiln owners used “tyre scraps, artificial leather (rexine) and synthetic paper” because they had run out of wood scraps and there is a reported power and gas shortage. The kilns are alleged to have no chimneys.
USA: Two “Mud” exhibits illustrate centuries-old globalization:
Porcelain’s vast crossover, Denver Post – “”Blue and White: A Ceramic Journey” and “Mud to Masterpiece: Mexican Colonial Ceramics,” two of the eight shows that make up “Marvelous Mud: Clay Around the World.” The exhibition runs through mid-November at the Denver Art Museum. I particularly like the photo of the piece from Tonala, Mexico, in the 1700s because the decorative style is the same as a piece that I have from the same area, circa 1970s. This sounds like a terrific show, covering much terrain, geographically and stylistically.