Holy shit! Guess who got to hang out with thousands and thousands of terra-cotta warriors yesterday! Words can't quite describe how awesome it was. Emperor Qin Shi Huang Ti sure was a dick, but he left behind a staggering testament to his power (and off-the-hook fear of death). Each of the bazillion life-size warriors has an individual face, reflecting plenty of Chinese minorities and archetypes. It was amazing to see how many variations there were...footsoldiers, archers, charioteers and all sorts of different rankings. Note the ascots on all of the warriors...these guys knew how to make a fashion statement while they were kicking your ass. Not everybody can carry off a bun on the top of their hair, leather armor and an ascot.
Everyone was also abuzz because the giant terra cotta warrior from the opening ceremony from the Olympics last year was also in the hizz-ouse. Does this remind anybody else of the puppetry scenes in "Being John Malkovich"?
I've got plenty of other photos and adventures that I'll be posting over the coming weeks. I've only got a week of travel left. After another day or so in Xi'an, it's off to Beijing. Stay tuned!
I'm on my way out of Jingdezhen. It's been a great couple of weeks. In honor of Father's Day, I'm posting this photo of a grandfather, a grandson, and this beautiful handcrafted stroller. I'm constantly amazed by the things people cobble together here. China is truly the Capitol of D.I.Y. I think I might avoid the wicker motorcycle helmets, though.
Elmer Presslee just made my night. I was about to go to bed when I stumbled across a Gizmodo post about his amazing baby stroller. You can check out other photos of it on his Flickr stream. Note the beautiful details...the lovingly painted veins on the eyes. Every wrinkle and pore rendered with lifelike accuracy for the discerning baby who rides in it. My favorite feature has to be the brains upholstery to keep your baby riding in comfort.
Boy howdy, do I ever love China. As longtime readers of Extreme Craft know, I've got a nearly bottomless appetite for randomness, and if China is great at delivering one thing, it's randomness. Tonight, China kicked it up a notch when I found this amazing pair of boxer briefs at a little shop in a dying shopping mall. I was blown away by the fact that an underwear bootlegger decided it would be a great idea to combine tennis legend Björn Borg with the Japanese cartoon character Doraemon.
After a little bit of googling, I found out that Björn Borg actually does have a sizeable undergarment empire, but I'm pretty sure he didn't approve these puppies.
China, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. After a long day in the studio, I stepped out with my friends Rachel and Anthony. We perused the DVD store, which was filled with bizarre documentaries from around the world, including the one I'm holding above, "Animal Sex Encyclopedia", which is subtitled "Animal Love, opened the true record of cool animals having sex". For less than $1, how could I not invest in such an educational tool. There are some lively bears and rhinoceroses doing it on the back cover. I'm off to investigate.
Update. OMG. I just finished perusing the DVD. I've gotta figure out a way to post some of this footage. Not exactly Extreme Craft....but impossible to take your eyes off. The footage on the DVD is all vintage, and is accompanied by sexy Chinese narration and a late 60's Serge Gainsbourg-esque soundtrack.
I just woke up this morning to an email in my inbox from my friend Colleen, an awesome graphic designer and craft goddess from Atlanta. It seems one of her friends suffers from a crazy rare disease that has left her partially paralyzed for the rest of her life. She'll have to rely on a quad-cane for help, so Colleen took a veritable Ali Baba's treasure of craft gems and created this pimpadelic cane. I've written about disability chic before, but Colleen's efforts certainly go above and beyond the simple crutch muffin (click on the hyperlink if you've forgotten the definition).
I was in the middle of some travel and away from my email when this baby was published, so I'm late in plugging it on Extreme Craft. I guest curated a Father's Day list a week or so back for Etsy.com. You don't have much time to order (or better yet, MAKE) your Father's Day present, so check out my suggestions, which include everything from a Ron Paul finger puppet to the smoking jacket above, which is made out of an honest-to-god poker playing dogs tapestry.
Do you know what's weird about China? American culture is celebrated, fetishized and explored six ways 'til Sunday here. Chinglish shirts are a proud fashion statement, Kentucky Fried Chicken is on every corner, and other bits of American pop culture are sliced, diced and put in a blender. With all of that, I've heard precious little hip-hop! I've seen some B-Boy(ish) fashion, but I've only heard one little snippet of a rap song here. Not that it's not out there...Chinese is incredibly well-suited for rap, and I've heard some amazing hip-hop, but the musical landscape is dominated by techno and lite pop.
This body of work was created during a Summer 2010 residency at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China. These porcelain vessels explore traditional Chinese iconography as refracted through a decidedly Western point of view.