A Visiting Artisan

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

When the opportunity came for me to leave my village and travel to a country across the world, I jumped at it. I have spent my entire life living in the place I was born. The hills and the grasses are well-known to me. I have walked the paths through the fields many times over. The children I grew up with have, like me, married and have had children. Each day we toil to bring food into our homes. I am lucky – there is no reason for me to go out into the fields. Instead I work from home, using my skills to create the small sculptures and ornaments with which my people love to adorn their homes.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

Now I find myself in Canada, showing people the work I love to do. They look on in interest as I roll and mold the modelling clay. The panda bear I am making takes shape in front of their eyes. To me, this skill is not at all unique – there are a number of us in China that create these little sculptures. It seems though, from the reaction I see, that this skill is not practised by many here. The young children look on in interest and I hope that they will go home and try to recreate the animals of their choice.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

 

Roll, roll, smooth. The movement is soothing to me. The surrounding chatter in a foreign language could be overwhelming for me but I allow the calming nature of my art take over. I choose the colours I need from my tray, covering the clay afterwards to ensure it doesn’t dry. The panda is almost finished and I begin to think of what it is I can create next. Something that the children will enjoy seeing. Maybe another animal, a tiger perhaps. I have noticed that the young ones here enjoy seeing animals. They exclaim over the small depictions and many of them have taken one home.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

As I work under this tent, I marvel at the fact that I am here in this country. I feel proud to have been chosen to represent our culture to those so far from home. Sitting here I have seen many whose ancestors were born in China. These people are unable to speak the language of my country and would have difficulty understanding my experiences. However, I can see that they are hungry to learn more about the culture of their forefathers. Hopefully I will be able to help them find that part of themselves.

 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

After today’s work, the artisans will be taken on a small tour of this place we find ourselves in. I will enjoy the change and the new experiences. Then I will happily return to my people and my family. I will return home where I will be understood when I speak, and where I can eat the food I am used to. And as I return, I will leave behind small pieces of myself in the art I sold to the admirers I had this weekend.

Do you create with modelling clay?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by Amanda’s Pixel Prose Challenge)

Previous posts on the artisans visiting Toronto:

A Chinese Papercutter

Chinese Artists

A Chinese Woodcarver

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24 thoughts on “A Visiting Artisan

  1. A lovely glimpse into your world here Colline. Doing any craft is always a stress-reducing experience, we did modelling just last week with our mental health clients. We used dough, and they loved creating and experimenting with different shapes.
    Thank you for your fab entry to the Pixel Prose challenge. 🙂

    p.s if you add the blue frog to your post (guidelines on my post – it’s just copy and paste) This means your readers can join in too if they’d like. 😀

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  2. I attended some pottery classes and found it hard work to roll and form the clay I must say, I didn’t use small pieces to form the objects and I think that was why it was hard on my hands and arms

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  3. Wow! What a talent! I would sit for hours watching him create those beautiful art. Stunning post Colline! Thanks for sharing hon. 😀 ♥ Hugs ♥

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  4. Wow, such a cute little panda. I like pandas. Thank you as always for sharing and while I have not used modling clay in years, I do have some precious metal clay that I’m looking forward to trying out. Now, I’m getting inspired…. hmm maybe a little silver panda.

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