Day 1: Setting up in Nan Shan

Monday: 19/6

This place is so beautiful! I after seeing small bits of the town yesterday on the drive here I was curious to get a better look. Waking up early, I went for a run around the place, and there is no other way to describe it than beautiful. Without knowing where I was running, I had managed to stumble upon what I think was tourist sector of the town. Id run up and over a hill, surrounded by sweeping green golf courses and huge imperial looking houses to find a huge arch way with the giant Buddha laying in the distance behind it. The area was so beautiful and so full of culture and yet felt slightly surreal, as I was the only person within sight.

I’d had the same feeling yesterday, as we’d arrived in the hotel. Again it was this grand palace of a building, in pristine condition and affluence clearly visible, and yet seemingly deserted except for ourselves.

Not knowing what to expect from Nan Shan, this certainly wasn’t it. Especially after the hustle and bustle of Shanghai, the complete stillness of Nan Shan is quite soothing, although quite odd.

Arriving at the uni that morning, we immediately got paired up with our partners and sat down to work on our weaves. I began flicking through my journal, showing my partner, Jin Jin, some of my concept imagery. None of it was particularly textile driven, instead was visuals of artworks, architecture and miscellaneous images that showed the overall mood, colours and tone I wanted to explore. This confused Jin Jin, and the first question she asked was “ what is your design for the weave?”.

I came to find that these were the hardest questions to answers, the ones that I was yet to find a solution to. I learnt last nightat the banquet that Jin Jin wasn’t as good at English as many of the other students, and although this made things difficult, it wasn’t beyond what I was expecting. So when she asks what my design is, it was very hard to explain to her that I didn’t know what the design was yet, and not that I did not know what she was asking me.

Beyond getting used to the new technique of weaving, and the problem solving involved with designing something within that new technique, the language barrier was definitely that biggest struggle I was haiving at this point. It was a new problem, but it was quite an exciting one to face, in the hope that it would prepare me for an industry filled with people with varying levels of English.

We finished off the day with our parameters; colour blocking of areas, small sections of pattern, pink and white colour scheme, and an ambition to highlight the fluffy and wild texture of the yarns. Simple and exciting, yet the challenge was all yet to come…