Art students travel to China for ceramics symposium

Every once in a while, students get an opportunity to expand their education outside of the classroom with a field trip. This month, some of the Fort Hays State University ceramics students are taking an ultimate field trip overseas.

Brianne Fulton, Nevada, Mo., graduate student, John Hamilton, Goodland junior, and Chris Pahls, Salina senior, along with ceramics instructor, Linda Ganstrom, professor of art, are in China until Nov. 3 for the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts symposium in Jingdezhen. The trip began Oct 21.

Pahls said they will attend lectures by Chinese artists, see demonstrations, tour facilities and gain a historical perspective. They will also show their work in an exhibition and have a few days to play tourist in Shanghai.

"Traveling is always a big source of inspiration to me," said Pahls.

He said he has traveled around the United States exploring art and ceramics and hopes this is the start of him traveling internationally. This is the first time Pahls and Hamilton will travel overseas. Fulton and Ganstrom have made the trip to China before.

Hamilton said he's always been inspired by Asian culture and finds it an incredible feeling to know that something he made will be represented in another country.

The students work will be displayed in student and professional shows. Hamilton will exhibit a ninja turtle sculpture and Pahls will display a coffee mug and a non-traditional self-portrait pot.

Pahls said he's looking forward to meeting "a whole new group of people with the same interests."

Hamilton, who added a studio art-ceramics major to his art education major, was given a $2,000 Andrea Powers Memorial Scholarship for the trip and is looking forward to "broadening my horizons." He said the No. 1 reason he wanted to go to China was to personally grow through the experience.

Hamilton said he is interested in being challenged by a long flight overseas and discovering "the struggle of speaking to someone who doesn’t speak English."

Pahls is planning to teach art after college. "It's a learning experience for me and my future students," he said.

However, he said one of the things he is looking forward to most is the food.

"I'm really excited to eat when I get there."

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