Beijing offered a variety of experiences including weather related this second week of my time in China. A sandstorm turned lovely spring weather into a murky and dusty experience. Luckily, the weather cleared nicely by the next day.
I enjoyed visiting a number of the studio areas in the Department of Art and Design at Tsinghua University. It is quite a large and comprehensive department. I taught a two-day workshop on my tarpaper slab building technique, which was really a poster board technique since they do not use this roofing material in China. I was pleased at the work made and a number of students came back a third day to continue working! They are bright and motivated and very responsive to this new technique. One of the majors has been working hard on an alligator sculpture inspired by my UF presentation!
Dean Baiming and a number of faculty and grad students hosted a farewell dinner for me. One of the best things about this visit is reuniting with old friends as well as meeting many new ones. Sitting in the professor’s office while talking over tea, which is a casual ceremony, is a wonderful way to get to know people.
The UF Chinese Officer, Dr. Chonghua Zheng with ties to Tsinghua University, took me to lunch and gave me a tour of the old and original part of the campus. You might recognize the American architecture in this part of campus. It has an interesting history and the US had something to do with it. http://www.tsinghua.edu.cn/publish/newthuen/newthuen_cnt/about-th/about-3.html A lovely lake in the area makes for an interesting juxtaposition.
We visited the Central Academy of Art campus on Saturday. The museum was great and had a traveling Sean Scully show that was a delight to see.
This week would not have been successful without my assistants, Yuting Yang and Reza Ullrash, both graduate students at Tsinghua University. They not only translated, they advised me and made sure I had a wonderful experience on campus and in Beijing. The peonies just opened today and they look great among them.
My dear friend Janet, Baiming’s wife, had a beautiful jacket hand tailored for me. It makes me happy to wear it, connecting me to dear friends and a wonderful culture.