zondag 30 december 2018

Peppie in China II

30 December 2018
Back in the Netherlands.
Jingdezhen, China. It was fantastic, fun, weird and actually far too short, 22 days.
And actually back a bit too early because it snowed in Jingdezhen today, I would have liked to see that.
Chinese friends post movies and photos of the snow on WeChat, so I can follow it a bit.
Everyone uses WeChat, similar to our WhatsApp and Facebook.
Everyone is on the phone in the Shanghai metro. Most payments are also done with WeChat, in taxis and shops.
Business cards you hardly get anymore nowadays in China, one immediately asks if you have WeChat.

On the photo with Chinese men, they almost always look serious, so I look pretty .. well, ridiculous then with such a big smile. The ladies usually laugh then, or at least smile.

I have had to work hard to finish everything on time, especially the last days. The two large vases have come out of the kiln beautifully and I hope they can come to the Netherlands soon.
Very special that my good friend and painter from the factory, Xiao Feng, painted on every vase in Chinese characters the words "Made in Jingdezhen". Yes I can recognize some Chinese characters now, so I know that these words are actually there ;-)

The last day I walked around on a large factory site with a lot of smaller porcelain workshops, right on the Yangtze River, far outside the center of Jingdezhen.
A lot of porcelain waste, and even another big vases factory.

I did not really experience the Christmas holidays this year, those days I was finishing the last things.
Oh yeah I got a glass of extra strong rice wine on Christmas Day at the factory and that night I was (ridiculously) early in bed.
With overloaded luggage of Chinese imitation lego, tea, shards and a fairly old, large Chinese abacus back to the Netherlands. The 9 hour long night train trip (to Shanghai) I have spent about completely asleep.

One night in Shanghai in a hotel that looked like an 18th century palace, with a much too large luxury room, nothing to complain about!

This time, my fifth time in China was the most fun and intense time. It almost felt like I really lived in Jingdezhen:-)
Meeting so many lovely and wonderful people, welcoming and helpful, it is of course very nice to have new good friends in China.
The farewell was therefore more difficult this time.
Now I have to get rid of the rice wine addiction and fortunately I have been pretty much cured of my stubborn coffee addiction in 22 days.
The breakfast of delicious soup with mushrooms and a kind of meatball, and two fried eggs without salt as breakfast for 8 Yuan (1 euro) I will also miss.
Back in the land of the fries with mayonnaise and cheese sandwiches.
Ofcourse also very nice to be back home!

Mountains of photo and film material. So I have enough editing to do in the new year..

zondag 23 december 2018

Peppie in China

14 December 2018
So incredibly cool to be back in the porcelain city of Jingdezhen, China (last time was in 2013 for an exchange project with Delft 'Blue revolution', organized by Adriaan Rees).
It is not the best time to be here in terms of temperature.
Especially if the municipality decides to put the entire inner-city district without electricity for 24 hours. It was a rather fresh night, but I got an extra blanket. And therefore no coffee in the morning. But mushroom soup with eggs in the morning because the restaurant downstairs was open. And other stores worked on an aggregate.
I am really the only foreigner in the city (I am often stared at, haha), I really have not come across one, okay except in the pottery workshop (artist in residence place), but they do not come out of their studio's (at least I think ;-)
Everyone is super nice, in shops, restaurants and especially at the factory where I am working.
Also there it is freezing cold, no heating, so I work with three layers of clothing and a coat. But they do have a small stove arranged for me, so it is not too bad actually.
The factory is located half an hour from the center, and today two taxi drivers could not find it, the first one put me off in the city, the second had to call first with three people and a central.
Yesterday a bit too much rice wine at lunch and then back on the scooter back to my hotel, rollercoaster.
Many scooters, many cars, but nobody drives really hard (at least not as those complete idiots in The Hague that almost rattle me and my children off our bikes).

The first day here I was a tourist and archaeologist and I found a lot of ancient porcelain.

23 December 2018
Yes, you are nothing in China without a scooter!
And here are some more clichés, yes, everybody in the factory  gurgles the whole day and spits on the ground, and the traffic is a real chaos, but still it runs smoothly and smeared, and especially with 3 people together on a scooter + a baby.
And almost all men smoke, and I get a cigarette offered by visitors about five times a day, which I kindly refuse.
And it is hilarious when I walk into an unfamiliar neighborhood supermarket and say Ni Hoa (just hello), everybody thinks it is funny.
Usually they say ’Hello!' to me.
The boss of the factory is a very friendly 66 years old boss  who lives in the factory. Every afternoon at 12 o'clock he cooks a fantastic meal and then I sit down with him on a chair at the table, while the other employees stay or sit here and there in space. The television on the CCTV 30 minutes of news. We communicate via my Google translation app and the same kind of app on the phone of Xiao Feng, the cousin of the boss that I can get along with very well. We have such strange conversations and humor turns out to be quite universal. They especially have to laugh when I try to speak Chinese, that goes pretty well with talking, but I forget about it too quickly, unfortunately I do not have such a linguistic talent. And we talk about Brexit and the army of China (if that is on TV). And we drink Baijiu, a strong drink, at lunch, and then we toast. I tried to refuse once, and no, that was not possible. Today I said that I did not feel so good and if I could get boiled water, of course no problem.
Besides the boss, there are two permanent employees for the heavy work. And four part-time painters. One of the four is a young girl who comes in with a double coat and hood, never says anything and starts painting with gloves on for a few hours and then leaves, her work is taken over by a boy at another time. There is also a muscular guy who throws the vases on the wheel.
Xiao Feng brings me to my hotel in the evening on the back of his scooter. He used to be a hoodlum, but now has a family with young children. Tonight he showed me his scars, nowadays he is just a really friendly guy.

In the morning I eat mushroom soup in the restaurant under my hotel. The owner is a really handsome lady, she works 7 days a week from about 6 in the morning until 9:30 in the evening.

We paint here with Cobalt, which is black before firing and turns blue after firing.
When the painting is finished, the vase is sprayed with glaze that will give the shine after firing. If a vase needs to be sprayed with glaze the boss tells me to leave the building. I suspect that people here are still using lead glaze that is forbidden in The Netherlands.
Furthermore, painting is as what I am used to, only the enormous surface of the vase did take some time getting used to.

vrijdag 7 september 2018

A video on drawing and painting

I almost forgot to post this. Just before the summer a video was made about my work. Made by the talented filmmaker Jaco Kruidenier of Maasmedia, Rotterdam.
Now still in Dutch, but I will be working on a translation in English... to be continued.

Couldn't embed, so please click this link: 

donderdag 30 augustus 2018

The kiln Gods have decided.

She opened the kiln and it was good. Two new ceramic sculptures. I was expecting the Majolica in a somewhat blue-gray color. I previously did a test on a different glaze and temperature. (And did not have time for new tests). But on this specific glaze (and higher temperature) it was still just brilliant blue. The kiln Gods have decided (and I will respect their choice)! Thanks Riëlle Beekmans and Leon Perlot!
Now exhibited at ‘Op visite bij Pieter - Beelden in de tuin’, Woonzorgcentrum Stefanna in Delft.
7 September to 7 October 2018


woensdag 25 april 2018

Painting a Fuping bird

Time-lapse of me painting one of my ‘Fuping birds’  a few years ago at Struktuur 68. One of my first attempts to make a time-lapse video, and also to edit a video. Okay to be honest it is not Hollywood quality, but maybe with some practice in a few years I’ll get better at it ;-)


vrijdag 13 april 2018

A colourful trio at Cultuurplek

I am participating in a trio show at ‘Cultuurplek’. Together with good friend Tineke van Gils, ceramic artist and Tein Traniello, photographer.
I will show ceramics and oil paintings.
Exclusively for this exhibition Tineke and Pepijn made a ceramic collaboration piece, The Dodo teapot.
Exhibition opening: April 8th, 2018 2 PM.
Opening dates exhibition:
14 / 15 / 21 / 22 / 28 & 29 April from 2 – 5 PM
Irenestraat 41
4711 CA
St. Willebrord 

"Nothing is what it seems" news

And now it's time for some "Nothing is what it seems" news!

More info: http://pepijnvandennieuwendijk.com/pepijnvandennieuwendijk.com/tussen-kunst-en-geschiedenis-•-between-art-and-history/

Digging into the history of Coevorden
Archaeologists find extremely special sculptures from the seventeenth century
Anyone who digs in the soil of an old city like Coevorden can make special finds. During excavations in the Kerkstraat archaeologists found walls and remains of cellars from the 17th century. In an old waste well and between other archaeological remains, archaeologists found two extremely intriguing sculptures.

"It is to be expected that you will make special discoveries if you are going to dig in the center of a historic city like Coevorden," says Pepijn van den Nieuwendijk, excavator, at the project in the center of Coevorden. While digging, a stone's throw from the Reformed Church, the archaeologists first found the floor of an old porch. "That seems to consist of two parts. We found a tiled floor in the highest part of the house, "says Van den Nieuwendijk.

Van den Nieuwendijk and his team think that the front house dates from the sixteenth century. "We could trace that from the remains of a cesspool." He points to a semi-circle of slightly darker earth.
"It is always nice to find something from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, since Coevorden experienced turbulent times at that time with wars against the Spaniards in the sixteenth century and Bommen Berend in the seventeenth century." "It teaches us more about how life was like in such a time. "
A reference to the war history are the traces of warfare. Finds of musket bullets from the seventeenth century at this excavation are silent witnesses of the war history of Coevorden.

Archaeologists found several cellars in the backyard. Although they are less old the cellar walls are more interesting. "It is still guessing, but we think the front cellar dates back to the late sixteenth century, possibly from the time after the Spanish occupation when damaged houses had to be rebuilt." "The rear part of the basement seems to have been added later, possibly in the early eighteenth century, assuming the brick size and the dating of shards of pottery that we found there. "

Behind the cellar walls were cesspits and waste pits found by the archaeologists. Possibly this was a fenced back yard of the houses on the Kerkstraat. Remains of a wooden division were also found.
In a cesspool and a waste pit, the archaeologists found two complete ceramic sculptures of exceptional quality. The statues with a green glaze probably date from the late seventeenth century, and are of great historical and artistic value through their expressive appearance and comic character. "Why these two sculptures are found in almost intact condition is really a mystery," says Van den Nieuwendijk. "They look like caricatures, meant to be scoffed." One of the sculptures looks like a standing soldier with a Spanish-looking helmet and a duck's head (maybe a goose's head?). The other sculpture looks like a soldier on a toy horse, where the toy horse once again has the head of a duck or goose.
"These are artistic seventeenth-century ceramic sculptures as we have never seen before, they provide us with a lot of questions, such as where were they made, and why and how did they get here and why." On the statue there is a year of 1592 , but the archaeologists suspect that it is not the date of production but that it refers to the year 1592 as a historical reference to the expel of the Spaniards in that year. "We know that it dates back to the late seventeenth century because of the glaze used and the context of other finds such as ceramic shards." "Such a historical object is of exceptional importance for the history of Coevorden and also for the history of the country".

The archaeologists hope to find more clues during the course of the excavations that can provide clarity for the mystery of the two sculptures.

The found cellars will be excavated even further, whereby archaeologists in deeper layers can make older finds that can shed more light on the late Middle Ages of Coevorden.

"We first make a kind of map of the spaces we excavate and we document everything," says Van den Nieuwendijk. "Then we can dig deeper again."
The entire plot has not yet been excavated. So there can still be anything underneath.

The archaeologists are curious about what else can be found under the Coevorden soil.
A few weeks remain for Van den Nieuwendijk and his team for the research. Then a new shop building with houses is built.