Just wanted to let everyone know that my lantern fired nicely (whew!) although, like every other piece, it didn’t come out completely unscathed. Most of the bracing I had built into the back cracked in an unusual manner but the front of the piece looks good. In fact not bad at all considering the piece is once fired (due to time pressures and worry about stress on this delicate clay body). Needless to say, I’m very relieved. I didn’t get to see my piece until Tuesday of this week when a number of us headed back to Tainan for one last time. It was nerve wracking opening the kiln! Talk about Grace under pressure!
So, tomorrow is the big day — all the lanterns will be lit up for the evening concert at the festival (the only day the festival is open late). I’m quite excited about it and know we will all feel that the enormous effort and difficulty was worthwhile.
Tomorrow I have to adhere my piece to a wooden backing, something that was recommended because I lost most of the bracing and also because the fired clay is still quite weak. I’m reluctant to combine wood and clay together permanently, but the wood has been sealed and I’m assured it will be okay. It should certainly help the piece enjoy a longer life. In any case it will be shown during the Lantern Festival in a gallery in downtown Taipei in February. This means I will be in two shows in Taiwan at once at that time. Probably calls for a trip back!
The festival has flown by and I can’t believe we only have two days left. What I really can’t believe is that I’ll be home in one week with -19 temperatures! It will be a complete shock as will the fact that Christmas will only be about one month away — virtually no trace of it here.
I’ve had a nice offer to stay in a hotel in downtown Taipei for a really good discounted rate (thanks to Taiwan’s famous ceramic artist Ah Leon whose friend owns the hotel). My time in Taipei will also fly by and then I’ll be home before you know it. So far, we have managed to get to Taipei twice, once to the night market and once to go to the National Palace Museum (amazing — I found the jade to be especially inspiring!).
Tonight we celebrated the 60th birthday of one of Taiwan’s famous master potters and had an incredible meal which included black chicken, quail’s eggs, and a special birthday dish which had noodles, pig’s feet and boiled eggs dyed red.