Out of the Box – December 2009

January 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Out Of The Box

with Columnist Mary Anne Street

It all started last February with a sign at the Guard House. It said “China Painting.” My curiosity was aroused. Were there people from China painting in the Guard House? Were people painting on china plates? Was there a new painting class and I missed it?

Being a member of the Tybee Arts Association, I couldn’t imagine a painting experience not being known to all the members. I called the number and got Stacye Jarrell of Oceanfront Rentals. Stacey explained that this was the second year of a yearly art school featuring WORLD renowned painters of china objects. “Have you got some time?” she said. “I’ll take you and show you what this is about.” I grabbed Rebecca Rice and Denise Vernon of the TAA and off we went.

Wow! That’s about all I can say about the wonderment we discovered. We first visited a “studio” where a gentleman was teaching painting on china plates. Evidently you put a layer of paint on, fire it, paint on, fire it and so forth until the plate is finished. Stacey had 5 kilns on her property to take care of the nightly firings. Next, we visited another plate class; then it was on to a porcelain clay sculpting class of vases and boxes. Finally, we visited a studio where mostly ladies were painting portraits on china. All I can say is “wow!” We were privileged to meet some of the world’s most renowned painters of china. What exquisite beauty in this age old art that is now making a comeback.

China painting on porcelain came from the country of China; hence, the name. Several countries stole the idea and began making exquisite pieces, putting their own “mark” and style on them and for years the artists garnered high prices for their beautiful work. However, with time the art lost some of its luster and talent as younger people took up faster and easier ways of making “china;” but
quietly in the background the masters continued their art and taught it to the few interested parties.

Today the art is making a comeback, and Tybee is lucky enough to
be part of a fabulous event called GA Seminars by the Sea that invites artists and masters alike to come to paint and learn. The 2010 event will take place February 25th through March 7th and will bring about 120 artists to our island from states such as California, Vermont and Michigan; along with about 14 of the “grand masters” of China painting from Portugal, Argentina and Brazil.

The Tybee Arts Association will host several events this year to welcome our guests and assist in their painting efforts. We will host a teacher’s reception where local art teachers will gather to meet and greet our artists. There will be two “China Painting Art Appreciation and Educational Exhibits,” at the Arts Center to show the work of the painters (one after the first week, and another after the second). This will be an opportunity to share the various techniques and information about this unique fine art form, including its history. The TAA also hopes to offer an event for children to expose them to this “lost art.”

As the attendees will be given welcome bags, members of the Tybee Arts Association met on Oct. 29th to fashion “favors” for the bags. We made turtles out of clay, painted them and fired them. As turtles are Tybee’s “mascot” it was felt these would make appropriate gifts for the bags.

Consider signing up for these classes. THEY WELCOME BEGINNERS and you don’t have to have any experience in china art at all; plus they give discounts to locals. Interested? Call Suzanne Painter at 706.495.6724, or go to http://www.gaseminarsbythesea.net.

As we come together to celebrate the holidays, don’t forget to think of our friends and neighbors who have no family around. Share your meal, bring a gift, or simply spend some time with those in need of a little time. And there is always the Nursing Home on Tybee—they can always use a little time and TLC.

May your holidays be blessed and peaceful.

Mary Anne

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