Clay Office prepares for Christmas

Nato Eristavi. Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

Thank you Susanna Melo, my better half, for writing another blog post.

Christmas is nearing, but here in Georgia this special occasion is not just celebrated on December 25th, according to the Gregorian calendar. Eastern Orthodox Christians keep to tradition by following the Julian calendar (used in ancient Rome), so Georgians celebrate Christmas on January 7th, too!

The Clay Office ceramicists, like Santa’s elves, have worked diligently day and night for weeks to create ceramic wares, sculptures, ornaments, and keepsakes for the gift-giving spirit of this time of year. Lali Kutateladze placed floating angels adorned in gold to the side of cleverly painted small bowls; Lia Bragationi created practical, block-shaped candle holders of all sizes and designs; Malkhaz Shvelidze (Kopi) made slim, statuesque angels with interesting facial expressions and golden wings. Gigisha Pachkoria had fun making the tiniest Santa Clauses with curly mustaches, not unlike his own. These jolly Santas were actual containers in which their future owners could hide a small treasure.

Georgians also have two New Year’s celebrations: January 1st, according to the Gregorian calendar, and January 14th according to the Julian calendar. Ceramicist Nato Eristavi seized the opportunity of the 2012 Chinese New Year of the Dragon to make intriguing, swirling, and stylistic white glazed dragons on stands painted with black, oriental-looking designs.

Keith and I purchased a couple of small angels to remind us of these hard-working, creative Georgian artists when we celebrate Christmas back in the U.S. next year.

Malkhaz Shvelidze (Kopi). Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

Lali Kutateladze. Copyright Susanna Melo, 2011

Lia Bragationi and Gigisha Pachkoria. Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

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About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

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