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SIT-Summer Institute in Taiwan
Academic Exchange & Cultural Experience in Taiwan
10. Ceramic

Project Manager: Cindy

       During the orientation week, Cindy and I were in charge of Ceramic. In order to know the pottery culture, we paid a visit to The Shu’s Pottery. While being there, the fellow members had a chance to learn not only about the history of pottery in Taiwan, but also about the skill of making potteries by hands. The skill is called shǒu lā pei (手拉坏) in Chinese, which requires the centrifugal force, water, and both skillful hands to shape the clay into different sizes and appearances of containers. It seems really easy, but in fact, it is not. I still remember the first time when I saw the teacher demonstrating the skill at the end of May, and I was totally astonished. It was just like a magic trick. Deep in my heart, I also admire those who are trying to learn this skill and pass on from generation to generation. This is a beautiful culture that needs to be protected.

        When the fellow members first time arrived The Shu’s Pottery, I could see that their eyes were filled with curiosity, and wanted to know what was about this place. The items displayed inside the museum also caught their eyes. In order to have more time for experiencing shǒu lā pei (手拉坏), the teacher led them to the pottery studio room at first floor right after the museum tour. When she was demonstrating the skill, everyone was surprised and couldn’t wait to try it on his/her own. 

The teachers in the studio room put semi-finished clay on each machine so that everyone could make his/her ‘clay container’ without many difficulties. Of course, each one of them had another chance for shǒu lā pei (手拉坏), but he/she would have to start from the very beginning. They were 3 teachers helping around fellow members to make sure everyone left the room with a satisfied work. After shaping their clay came to the final step: decoration. Many fellow members tried their best to make their work look cool and pretty, some of them even put down the characters they learned in the calligraphy class previously. So proud of what they’d done, some members made an extra piece for their family or friends and told me that they were looking forward to having their work back.  

      Everything went good, however, not having enough time for them to look around or purchase the products inside the museum was the fly in the ointment.

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