Marcia Jestaedt recently returned from a trip to China where she had been invited by Mr. Qi Heliang, the owner of Suixuan Gallery in Shanghai. This journey began when she opened up her email in early December 2013 and found a message from Mr. Qi. He introduced himself, saying that he had seen a report about her work and was very impressed by it. He said that he thought it would be well received in China, and asked if she would be interested in establishing some kind of “cooperation”.
This was a curious surprise, and she answered with caution asking him to send her more information about himself and his gallery. Within the next few days, events occurred that caused Marcia to Google herself. To her surprise, she found that there were numerous Chinese media-related web sites that were showing her work. Mr. Qi sent photos of his gallery/art center and information about the programs that he has; teaching teenagers ceramics, and young adults how to collect ceramics. Correspondence over a few months led to his inviting her to China to discuss the possibility of bring her work to Shanghai for an exhibit.
Marcia made plans to travel to China in late August and spent five days in Shanghai as Mr. Qi’s guest. During this time she visited his extensive gallery, and the Shanghai Institute where she visited his ceramic studios. This beautiful facility is located in a lovely park-like setting that is very conducive to the creative spirit. Marcia toured the large impressive ceramic studios, the kiln room, and the gallery exhibiting student work. It was an exciting experience to meet the students from half way around the world, and to see the work that they were doing. The wheel-thrown work was traditional in nature, but the sculptural pieces where very innovative.
Later the group walked to another building that housed the sculpture and industrial design studios. She visited the sculpture department where she met sculpture professors, saw their studios, and the work being produced. She was then was taken on a tour of the many industrial design studios housed in this building, which are used by visiting professors from foreign countries who are lending their expertise to Chinese students.
Joining the group that visited the Shanghai Institute facilities was the editor of “China Art Ceramics”, which had published an article about Marcia’s work in it’s June edition. She brought along copies of the magazine and showed interest in having Marcia write a piece for the magazine. This was the second Chinese magazine that published an article about Marcia’s work in 2014. The first was “Mind”, a magazine which deals with aesthetics. They published an extensive article on her work in March of last year.
The following days were spent visiting museums, art districts and galleries. With a day trip to Suzhou to visit the Suzhou Museum which was designed by I.M. Pei.
While in Shanghai Mr. Qi asked Marcia if she would do a series of robes influenced by her trip to China. It is hoped that these would be the basis for a show in the coming year. Some drawings have been completed and work is about to begin on the first robe.