On Monday evening, professor and ceramic artist, Glenn Schwaiger gave a presentation about his sabbatical to China and all that he discovered while he was there.
Glenn Schwaiger, professor of art at Dona Ana Community College in Las Cruces, New Mexico, came to visit Eastern New Mexico University. Schwaiger graduated with his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois. He later graduated with his Master’s of Fine Arts in ceramics. An exhibit displaying his own works, and works he has collected from his travels have been on display in the Runnels Gallery since October 24.
“Last fall I went with West Virginia University, to a small town, by China’s standards, to a city called Jingdezhen,” said Schwaiger. He went on to explain that Jingdezhen, located in south eastern China, is home to 1.4 million people and is known as the porcelain capital of China since around 1000 A.D.
Schwaiger decided to go to China, not just simply for adventure, but because he wanted to follow the path of ceramics and see some of the places where it all began.
“Another thing that sent me to China is that I have often felt that in order for us to do our best work we have to work together. You have to work collaboratively and this city has been doing this a thousand years,” said Schwaiger.
He discovered the city in several different ways and one day hired a taxi driver to take him to see the public art around Jingdezhen. He was even able to see the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, who had 300,000 men and women work to build his tomb.
He showed the audience some porcelain from China that was as extremely delicate and as thin as an egg shell. He demonstrated the thinness by shining a flashlight through the piece of pottery and onto the ceiling.
Schwaiger showed photos from his trip and explained just how deeply rooted pottery is within the culture of Jingdezhen. He displayed photos where even traffic lights and trash cans were encased in porcelain.
Overall, Schwaiger spoke very highly of his experiences in China and enjoyed being immersed in the culture and with the local people.
“There is so much dignity and honor in the people in China. No matter what their resources or walk of life, their generosity is more important. They would rather share something with you than get something from you. It was amazing,” said Schwaiger.