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UC Study Abroad Trip to China Last Winter Leads to Spring China Exhibit Downtown

A downtown exhibit will reveal how UC art students were inspired by their stay in a 2,000-year-old porcelain center in China. The showcase opens March 28.

Date: 3/26/2014 9:30:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Katie Parker and Colin Klimesh

UC ingot   An art showcase of a UC study-abroad trip to China will not only display the impact of UC’s global education opportunities, but it could also mean finding some pieces to showcase in your own home.
Elizabeth Burnard and Colin Klimesh
Elizabeth Burnard and Colin Klimesh

The show, “Handmade in China,” opens at 6 p.m., Friday, March 28, at Clay Street Press in Over-the-Rhine. Opening night runs until 9 p.m. The exhibit will be on display at Clay Street Press through May 10. The exhibit is free and open to the public. Items on exhibit are available for sale.

Over December break, a group of 11 graduate and undergraduate students explored the past and present traditions of creating ceramics and porcelain as they traveled to Jingdezhen, China. Over their 21-day trip last December, they lived and worked in a 2,000-year-old porcelain center called The Sculpture Factory. The trip was led by Katie Parker, assistant professor of art, and Guy Davis, an adjunct instructor for the School of Art in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP).

“The Sculpture Factory produces the finest China in the world,” says Parker. “It’s the whitest, highest firing porcelain that is available.

“The students worked with local mold makers and local artists, collaborating on pieces and learning techniques and processes that were new to them, but a tradition in China,” Parker says. “Pieces were made via wheel, mold-made and sourced on site. Three-dimensional printed and Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) milled forms were made in Cincinnati and brought to the mold makers.”

Elizabeth Burnard in the studio at The Pottery Workshop.
Elizabeth Burnard in the studio at The Pottery Workshop.

UC holds a long tradition of providing real-world educational experiences, and is the world founder of cooperative education. Experiential learning opportunities such as study abroad are aspirations for academic institutions because research has found they can change lives.

“Even though we’ve been back in Cincinnati since December, I feel like I’m really still digesting and reflecting on my experiences in China,” says Colin Klimesh, who is pursuing a master’s degree in fine arts.  “The opportunity to work in Jingdezhen was a rigorous learning experience, both technically as a ceramist, but also in terms of cultural exchange,” says Klimesh, who is from Mankato, Minn. “My perspective has dramatically shifted due to my experience in China.”

Julie Drout, a senior fine arts major with a concentration in ceramics from North Bend, Ohio, says the experience in China stretched her imagination, leading to the creation of two Greek-inspired vessels decorated with handmade porcelain flowers.

“The trip to China benefitted me even more than I could ever have imagined,” says Drout. “By letting go of what was holding me back in the studio at DAAP, I was able to be completely free with my art. Since my return from China, my artistic practice has been much more fluid, risky and exciting. My trip to China with the University of Cincinnati will remain a turning point in my life as an artist, and I’ll continue to grow from the experience.”
"Audobon," by Colin Klimesh

UC recently joined an initiative by the Institute of International Education (IIE) to double the number of American students who study abroad by the end of the decade. As part of the Generation Study Abroad initiative, UC has launched a stretch goal for 1,700 of its American undergraduates to study abroad by 2019, increasing from the 1,500 target goal previously set in the Academic Master Plan.

“I was inspired by the work ethic of the employees at The Sculpture Factory,” says Elizabeth Burnard, a UC junior majoring in fine arts with a concentration in ceramics. “They were constantly smiling and enjoying their daily duties, but at the same time, they were speedy and precise. I was also challenged by working with a different culture, and learning how to explain how I approached my work to them. I learned so much and met so many wonderful people.”

Gallery hours for the exhibit are 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; noon-4 p.m. on Saturday. The business is owned by Mark Patsfall, who also teaches printmaking in DAAP.

Clay Street Press Website and Contact Information