‘Chinese Folk Pottery’ exhibit comes to SVSU

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The current traveling exhibit in the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum is “Chinese Folk Pottery: The Art of the Everyday.”

It was curated by Marie Woo and runs through May 19.

Museum Director Marilyn Wheaton was contacted by Woo, who wanted the exhibit’s final showing to end in Michigan since it also began in Michigan.

Woo is not only the curator of the exhibit but is also a renowned ceramic artist. The exhibit works in tandem with the other exhibit being showcased with it, Gerhardt Knodel’s “Minglings: A Journey Across Time,” as they are similar in theme.

Wheaton wants this exhibit to show how important it is to preserve the importance of not letting factories make artists extinct.

“I want people to come back to recognizing that an object created individually via artist has a much greater value both in its beauty and its long term value than something that is mass produced by a factory,” Wheaton said.

She hopes that exhibits like these inspire others as much as they inspire her.

“If you see something, and it inspires you to the point that you want to make that trip, you’ve done your job,” Wheaton said.

The project began at the University of Michigan Art Museum in 2013. It included the exhibition, which is 35 pieces that were picked from 100 pieces, a symposium of speakers from China and films.

Shortly after the project began, it became a national traveling exhibit, and this exhibition at the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum will be its last stop.

“As China rushes headlong into modernization, the contemporary folk pottery is struggling for existence,” Woo said. “With the demise of traditional ware, village potters have migrated to the cities in search of more lucrative work. The dragon kilns that operated for centuries are cold and threatened by extinction. This is a global issue that cannot be reversed, but this is an attempt to preserve by documenting what will be gone.”

Woo believes that this exhibit is important because very little is known about Chinese folk potter in the West.

“This project was an unexpected 10 years- plus involvement for me,” Woo said. “As a ceramic artist, it took too much time from my studio work. The rapid decline of traditional Chinese folk craft became my major concern that motivated me to document what will be gone forever.”

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