Meißen and Dresden
General things about me
- Ive spent the last three days getting sick
- I'm still doing all the things I wanted to do, just dragging a bit more
- My project has really been moving forward
- I'm finding inspiration everywhere
- People in Bavaria (where I'm headed tomorrow) are reaching out to me and want to meet
- I am excited!!!
General thing about Saxony
- No english signs (hopefully you get on the right tram)
- If you start speaking in English people roll their eyes
- Saxony is the most conservative part of Germany
- There is still lots of charm
- Younger people are more willing to help
- There is a ton of pottery!
For the most part, the last few days have been a lesson in diligence. People here, especially artisans, are meticulous and hard working. When I traveled to Meißen I took a tour of a porcelain factory, and viewed their porcelain museum. Meißen was the first place in Europe to figure out how to make porcelain - they cherished the material so much they called it white gold. The porcelain recipe was protected in a castle with a gigantic fortress, because they were fearful that people would try to steal their 'white gold' alchemy. I was disappointed in how little credit the Meißen factory gave to Japanese potters, because many of the forms and decoration techniques were clearly adapted from Japanese standards. What is impressive though is how sought after porcelain became after the Meißen secret was out.
All over Dresden and Meißen there are paintings depicting the 'discovery' of porcelain. Mostly these murals are in reference to Augustus the Great (king of Saxony) , who commissioned an insane amount of porcelain figurines and sculptures, essentially to decorate his entire kingdom. I took a ton of photos, but here are some of my favorites!
Dresden and Meißen are very close to each other, so it's no surprise that Dresden is also home to a large pottery collection. The city itself is interesting because it was completely rebuilt after WWII. Dresden was bombed to the ground during the war, and there was a huge effort to rebuild the city exactly as it was pre- Holocaust. This means that they built the city and all of its churches in baroque style, which must have cost a fortune. Dresden is home to "german pride" much like "southern pride," and I think this is a large part of the attitude towards non natives.
Regardless, the city is packed full of art and is very inspiring in that sense. I have learned quite a bit about the history of european porcelain, which my Great Grandfather also collected. I see many designs here that must have inspired Wallach textiles. Moving forward into the next few days, I will be meeting with people who know of the Wallach family and history. One man I am meeting with is over 90 years old, but he used to work for the company, and still has many artifacts from before the war.
There are many exciting things to come, and we will see how it all unfolds. Communication is my biggest struggle here, but I've heard that different regions of Germany are more willing to speak english than others. Hopefully I start feeling better soon so I am able to function like a regular human being :)