Jean-Paul from Switzerland, he is carving a sculpture here that will be used tonite for his fire sculpture performance tonite.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
The hospitality has been awesome, the food is terrific and there is live entertainment during and after supper every night. Each Sunday we go on a tour of some kind, into Penza or around the province of Penza. It is the cultural centre of the Volga region and rich in art. Everywhere we go the bus is lead by a Police car with lights flashing and siren going when he passes vihicles. I can't believe it but they sure have a different reaction to visiting artists in Europe and Asia than back home. I do see the point, works of art are being created that will be enjoyed by the public and add to the culture here for centuries and more. I think to most of us we are just happier than ever to get together and create art, talk long into the night about it, enjoy each others company. That formula sure worked in Bergen but I do hope that in the future even more of the public will come out and see the process and the development of the sculptures. That only happens once.
Back to work today, burned out my drill right off the bat. Will have to get a new one tomorrow, now time is getting short so I’ll have to work hard the next four days. Time kind of snuck up on me here, I couldn’t get on to the lathe for the first week and ½ and now with a few little problems coming up I can see I will finish just in time. Would be nice to have a few extra days to tour Penza etc but I had a lot of fun helping others where I could during the first period of time where I couldn’t begin my work. There has been entertainment every night so far, children dancing and playing instruments, traditional music and dancing, classical music, a man whose voice blew everyone away……if I can figure out how to put video on my blog I’ll do that otherwise pictures will have to suffice. Seems every night it all ends in a social event happening somewhere, at the pool, in someone’s room or the dining room etc. Having the time of my life again as always seems to happen at these symposiums. I have gotten into having everyone sign my hat with a felt pen as a memento, today I got that done at lunchtime, only missed a few. I brought an extra hat for the gig in Viet Nam, so two new hats for the wall on this trip.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Friends from the Conference
A huge bronze, the sculpture park here at Chang Chun is the largest in the world. It has more than 500 sculptures, most of them in stone or bronze. I have never seen so much bronze! There were thousands of people in the park. It also boasts the largest sculpture museum in the world, 12,000 sq meters....well Chang Chun is doing it up right and I think it will be a very long time until another place can develop anything that compares.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Dana O'Donnell from USA, gettin' dusty. Entertainment has been incredible as I've probably mentioned already. I think this is the third time that very talented young musicians have put on delightful performances. The organizers have really done it up right for this symposium, you can't come to Russia and not take in some classic Russian music. I can't get enough of that but not complaining when they have a jazz band or rock and roll or..........what a great time!!!!
We traveled to a monastery about 150km from Penza today (police with flashing lights leading us all the way, ha ha). The building and grounds are beautiful and interesting. After a meal at the monastery we traveled a few km to some caves where the monks once lived. There are many km of caves in this mountain, you could easily become lost. Each of us held a candle for light, what a place to live!
Nothing out of the ordinary yesterday just more wonderful food, traditional entertainment etc. The music is so much fun to listen to and the costumes are incredibly ornate. We all end up dancing every night.
Today I was surprised that for breakfast we had caviar and ice cream drumsticks. Sweets are common fare at breakfast in Russia, including chocolate bars. I went in to Penza to see the lathe I will use, starting on Thursday, I think I will only need one day to do the turning on my sculpture.
As the lathe is not large enough to handle my wood, (70cmX2m) I had to prep the log for tomorrow. I didn’t expect this so I didn’t bring a chainsaw. Thomas from Slovenia lent me his and in a couple of hours my material was ready to take to town. The wood they supply is oak, I’ve never worked such a large piece of oak before. There is lots of it here, I don’t think it is such a special material as it is at home. Well in Viet Nam they make floors in sheds with teak.
At the woodworking factory we realized the lathe isn’t quite big enough to handle such a large piece. They assigned one of the workers as my assistant and told me anything I needed him for to just go and get him, Eugene is his name. The owner, Demitrie and Andre really went out of their way to help me get going. We went to two other factories that have lathes but still not one large enough so I decided to reduce the size of my sculpture so that I could get going on the first machine. A truck came and we took my material to a place that makes log homes, there they reduced the size to 26cm diameter which will mean I have to make a shorter sculpture if I want to keep the same design that I intended. That’s part of the symposium thing, tools, material, weather, sickness…….can all affect what you may end up being able to do. Sometimes you have to modify your plans because of something unexpected. I started to work about 4pm and finished around 8, will have to come back tomorrow.
Well, now it is Sept 22 and it is obvious to me that I will not get this blog updated the way I would like to on a daily basis. My internet connection does not work here in Russia, it takes too much of my time trying to keep up and I’m not being successful anyway. The difficulty is photos so I will just do a daily text update and fill in with some pictures when I can get on the net with my own computer, I hope that will be when I get to Viet Nam. I have so many nice pictures I would like to share. Here are some shots of the sculptures completed at Bergen Rocks, commentary re: China, Russia and Viet Nam follows.