The American porcelain apprentice and his Chinese mentor | Encounters in China 1

The American porcelain apprentice and his Chinese mentor | Encounters in China


Deshun Peoples (USA) met Jiang Xingda (China) in Jingdezhen – the ancient capital of Chinese porcelain. Together they unlocked the secrets of the city’s unique porcelain clay, and created a bridge between two cultures.

Deshun has been fascinated by Chinese ceramic since he was at school. At university he won a prestigious Fulbright scholarship to spend a year in Jingdezhen learning to craft fine porcelain.

Working in the Chinese capital of porcelain wasn’t easy for Deshun – the local approach to making pottery was different to what he was used to, and the materials were much more challenging to work with. But soon Deshun met local pottery expert Xingda.

Xingda was able to help Deshun solve many of the problems he had faced in the city, and in return Deshun helped Xingda learn English. They became close friends over late nights working in the studio. Deshun had to return to the USA after one year, and shortly afterwards he won a place to study at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design. He hopes to put into practice all the skills he learnt in Jingdezhen. Xingda now runs his own ceramics studio in the city. They keep in close contact, regularly discussing their work and ideas about pottery.

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