Monday, October 15, 2007

My weekend get-a-way!

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling like I needed to get away from our group for a little while. So I took a trip to "Club Dread." I guess you can say that I am finally a seasoned traveler as I have fallen ill to some parasite or bacteria. What ever it was, it had me dancing the cha-cha to the bathroom more often than I care to remember. I am now back to the land of the living. It felt like I was beaten by a hammer mill. I had not been taking care of myself prior to the incident and had also let my "food guard" down. So it hit me pretty hard. I have never had any problems with the cha-chas in my previous travels but now I am a little more cautious. Anyway, I thought I'd share a picture of our not so lovely bathroom where I spent most of my weekend. One great thing about this bathroom is that you can pee in the shower guilt free, it is one in the same. The bucket in the corner is for flushing when they decide to shut off our water for no apparent reason. Hopefully, I won't have to go back to "Club Dread" anytime soon!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Gaolin--The original source of kaolin

We went on a field trip to Gaolin. Gaolin is the original source of kaolin for the world of ceramics. The word kaolin is derived from the name of this location where the kaolin clay was mined and processed to make the first high fired porcelain.

At Gaolin we were able to go into the #1 mine. I went all the way to the end of the cavern and looked back without my headlamp to see what it must have been like if your candle went out while you were hauling kaolin out of here. You can see other people coming up behind me with their headlamps. The passages were very small and hard to navigate. Very much like spelunking.

When I turned my camera’s flash back on I caught Bobby trying to pull an Ozzy Ozborne on this innocent bat that was trying to get some rest.

This is Bob Anderson, the director of the West Virginia University China program. He is not guilty! He was actually just riding in the police escort car that was arranged for us to visit this area. Apparently, there is a missile facility near by that required a police escort for our chartered bus.

More photographs from Yaoli

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Not my kiln shed!

Though I wish it was. The kiln shed for the snake kiln is a thing of beauty in its own right. My kiln shed is strictly functional. It is built from culled dimensional lumber and cheap corrugated sheet metal. I can’t imagine what it would cost in the states to have a shed built like this. The peeled timbers and rough-cut tile supports are great. Many builders in the states would not know how to deal with this stuff. The tiles are especially beautiful. The last image is of a worker making tiles to fill the back half of the snake kiln. His make shift wheel and bamboo tile jig are really cool. The front half of the kiln is for pots.