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Story of ceramic artist Zhang Lingyun

(Xinhua)    10:11, August 09, 2014
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Zhang Lingyun buys unburned ceramic bases in Jingdezhen, east China's Jiangxi Province, July 18, 2014.

Zhang Lingyun is 40. It's been 20 years since the ceramic artist came to Jingdezhen, China's "porcelain capital". Zhang's story with ceramics had a random, romantic start: she knew barely anything about ceramics before she came across the name "Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute (JCI)" when applying for college. "Ceramics sounded interesting so I filed the application for JCI." The whim of impulse had made great difference in Zhang's life. Her very first contact with ceramics ended up with frustration. It was much more difficult than what one might think. "The whole work would be ruined if there were a single flaw in any process," said Zhang. "I was having a hard time and doubted my choice frequently." Zhang did not really fall in love with ceramics until she went to the South Carolina State University in 2006 on an exchange programme. There, she was impressed by a slogan on a fellow artisan's T-shirt: Clay is everything. "The earth sustains our world; it's reasonable to attribute the birth of 'everything' in this world to the clay, a major substance of the earth," she said. "Meanwhile, clay is subject to any form the human hands can shape: what great vitality! Isn't ceramics the best manifestation of the clay's beauty?" Hands and flames are the catalysts of Zhang's love for ceramics, as studios, factories and field workshops are their places of rendezvous. Gradually, she had gained mastery in the artisan-porcelain relationship. Zhang remains unmarried, but not lonely. Perhaps, she said, porcelain really is her best lover. "When I sit down and 'talk' to my cer