Way back in April, on Easter morning, I met a group of friends at the train station and headed off to Yingge. Just a short train ride away, Yingge was a lovely spring escape from the madness of Taipei City.
Yingge is known as the “Ceramics Town” due to its long history of both high- and low-quality pottery. Since this was officially a Girls Day, we were ready for some browsing, shopping, and hands-on crafting!
As we wondering up and down the Old Streets (which, ironically, were created in the 1990s to increase tourism), we were overwhelmed with shop after shop hawking ceramic bowls, teapots, teacups, and vases. Some of the finer pieces were surprisingly pricey, but a lot of the wares were cheap -- and made in China.
|So many pots!|
After enjoying copious street food and people-watching, we left the Old Streets and walked over to the Yingge Ceramics Museum. Entry was free (hooray!) and it wasn’t over-crowded with other tourists. We walked around a bit, looking at the displays and learning about the history of ceramics.
|Yingge Ceramics Museum|
Outside the museum, there is a strange sculpture garden, full of bizarre art with weird titles. One of my favorites was “Assaulting Normandy Ice Cream.” Not sure of the artistic connection between D-Day and Mint Chocolate Chip....
|Assaulting Normandy Ice Cream|
Our main objective, however, was to sign up for the ceramics studio. We waited in line, paid $50NT (about $1.50US), and headed into the workshop. The instructor did not speak English, but she did a great job demonstrating the steps to take our chunk of clay and turn it into art in under an hour. Unfortunately, they did not offer a "Ghost" reenactment class. I'm sure they could have charged extra for that. Swayze!!
They provided all the tools for cutting, molding, and carving the clay, as well as paint to decorate the final product. For an additional $150NT (5 bucks!), they will fire your creation and ship it to your home!
Of course, I didn’t know that I had to notify my doorman that a package would be arriving, nor did I pre-pay him the $150NT delivery fee, so my package never came. Month after month, I waited patiently, wondering if it got lost in the mail, or if (more likely) I wrote down my address incorrectly. Then, just a few weeks ago, I was invited back to Yingge with my cousins. Lucky for me, Emily offered to call the museum to check the status of my ceramic masterpiece, then even went to the studio to pick it up for me. What a gal! And now, at long last, I am reunited with my..... ashtray?