In the fall of 2016, Christine Dwane, Gustavo Estrada and Pierre-Yves Paquette, instructors at the ÉJM, taught at Nanjing University in China. They accepted to answer a few of our questions and talk about their experience.
Thursday February 23 2017 at 5:30 p.m., Christine Dwane and Pierre-Yves Paquette will present a seminar at the ÉJM about their travel experience.
You went to teach at Nanjing University, in China. How was this project born?
Pierre-Yves Paquette : Pierre Wilson, director of the Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec (MMAQ) met Mrs. Sarah Wang in 2015 when she was searching for a location to exhibit chinese artist creations that she presented in Quebec and in Europe. This meeting gave the idea to Mr. Wilson to travel in China to find artists and showcase their work at the MMAQ. During his travel, he discovered the work of the Art Studies students from Nanjing University (NJU). After his return, he decided, with the help of Mrs. Wang, to do a project with the Nanjing University and three Quebec Jewellers who would participate at an artist’s residency and exhibit their creations at the NJU.
What exactly did you accomplish while at Nanjing University?
Christine Dwane : Each teacher had students that we were working with introducing them to a technique that we had prepared to teach them. They made pieces using the technique we showed them as well as pieces they had already started and designed themselves. We also made pieces of our own based on the theme of the exhibition we were preparing.
Pierre-Yves Paquette : We taught for half a day (5%), then we would do follow ups with the students who had questions or problems (5%) and 90 % of the time was dedicated at the artist’s residency.
How were the exchanges with the jewellery students?
Pierre-Yves Paquette : In some cases, languages was a problem, because some students speaked hardly in English or not at all. They were all inspired by the techniques we showed them to design their pieces. I think it’s their way to proceed when a stranger comes to teach : it’s a sign of respect. The students were very helpful. They helped each other and with us when we had to solve many problems : with the equiment, a translation difficulty, a transportation need or to go at the bank. The equipment and the techniques were slightly different so we had to solve them, but it was very pleaseant. By using our knowledges, we patched many technical problems that we had.
Gustavo Estrada : The NJA students resemble a lot with the university students in Quebec. They have a great deal of knowledge about current art and their technical level is well developed.
What was your daily routine like?
Gustavo Estrada : Lots of work… and more work!
Pierre-Yves Paquette : We lived their rythm during our travel, working more thant 14 hours per day to produce quality pieces. I think we did this to show our appreciation for their generosity. We were housed and lodged on the campus. Somehow, we lived the Chinese student lifestyle.
Christine Dwane : The first day and a half we visited a few sites of interest: a brocade museum, a gold leaf factory and an artisan who works with silk. It was pretty much all work but we had a lot of fun together and with the students. Everyone was very helpful and warm, we were very well taken care of.
What do you take from this experience?
Pierre-Yves Paquette : A more generous approach to techniques and knowledge as well as a greater sharing leads to a knowledge-rich community of artisans, no matter where they are. The technique is only a container while the idea is the content; it allows to carry your idea wherever you want
Gustavo Estrada : That to advance well in our personal and professional development, we must leave our comfort zone. This experience allowed me to do introspection and assess my weaknesses.