Pretty on Porcelain; Porcelain painters visit Austin for four-state convention
Published 11:03 am Friday, October 17, 2014
Helen Petersen scanned the crowd at the Holiday Inn & Austin Conference Center on Thursday and was excited to see people from all over the United States come together to share and view porcelain artwork.
“It’s great,” she said. “The people I expected tonight is doubled from what I had signed up.”
Thursday was the first night of the “Petals and Wings,” the World Organization Porcelain China Painting Convention at the Holiday Inn to show off painted China, including cups, saucers, plates, bowls, photo frames, glass pieces, statues and more.
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While people showed up from as far away as Wisconsin, Nebraska, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas and Tennessee, many of the vendors and painters know each other from previous conventions.
“It’s like one big happy family,” Petersen said.
Although Petersen was happy with the turnout for the first night, she expects more people to show up on the second day of the convention. The event, which is free and open to the public, continues from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Petersen has organized four conventions, but this is the organization’s first four-state regional convention covering Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota.
This is my fourth one that I’ve organized. People think I’m nuts,” Petersen said with a laugh.
The event features demonstrations of China painting, paint-alongs, displays of painted porcelain, and pieces for display and for sale. Vendors will also sell supplies for new China painters to get started. The show will also host a competition of hand-painted porcelain and raffles.
Shirley Livingston came with two friends from Nebraska and has painted China since 2000. To Livingston, the conference offers a chance to view different styles, and in many cases, that’s a more modern style.
“You get to see many new techniques the [artists] are offering,” Livingston said. “A lot of times you see something old, used in a new way.”
“It’s just education,” she added. “That’s what we’re after.”
Though many may associate an older generation when thinking of porcelain painting, the organization is trying to get younger artists involved.
“We have youth, mostly people’s grandkids,” Petersen said. “They’re learning to paint.”
The convention features competitions in several age categories, and people like Mary Jane Grandstrand were pleased to see about five to 10 submissions from children.
“We are trying so hard for this art not to die,” Grandstrand said. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful remembrance. I hate to see it die out.”
Grandstrand and her husband, Carl, have gone to conventions for more than 30 years. After doing many other types of painting — oil painting, watercolor, and others — Grandstrand was introduced to China painting, which would become more than just a hobby. The couple was selling some of Mary Jane’s pieces at the convention this weekend. They try to go to at least one to two conventions each year. Grandstand was excited about all the different pieces of artwork on display at the Holiday Inn.
“There isn’t much you wouldn’t see here,” she said.
She hopes the future generation will appreciate the style of art as much as the older generation does.
“It’s fascinating and I love what’s left over,” she said. “In other words, the finished product I hope will be here 100 years from now.”