FINE CHINA: AND HOW TO PAINT IT.(Living)
The Cincinnati Post (Cincinnati, OH) October 6, 2003 | Kreimer, Peggy Byline: Peggy Kreimer Post staff reporter Ida Haegele won a bronze star as an Army nurse, helping to set up one of the first MASH hospitals in the Korean War. But she’s involved in a different sort of battle today. Instead of trying to save soldiers, she’s trying to save an art, one painter at a time.
At 80, Haegele is one of an increasingly exclusive army of china painting teachers.
“There are fewer of us every year,” she said. “We’re getting older and there aren’t a lot of young people who want to teach.” One of the best ways to get teachers is to get people who want to learn, Haegele said.
And all that takes is a chance to fall in love with the rich mineral colors, the elegant designs and the fiery magic that happens when the china glaze and the colors fuse together at 1,400 degrees in a kiln.
Haegele’s own creations fill her Covington home — painted lamps bloom with rich ruby roses, a Grecian lady in flowing robes seems to step out of the shadows on a huge urn, birds caught in mid flight beat their painted wings.
China painters create a permanent painting that fuses with the glaze on china that ranges from dinner plates to jewelry.
The public can get a look at painted china and how it’s done this week when more than 100 china painting teachers and artists from the northeastern third of the United States gather at the Eastern Regional convention of the International Porcelain Artists and Teachers, Thursday through Saturday at the Drawbridge Inn in Fort Mitchell.
Haegele is in charge of registration for the convention. Carolyn Fink of Cincinnati, who is president of the international organization, will demonstrate painting blackberries and using raised designs on porcelain.
A dozen more artists from across the country will demonstrate everything from painting roses, pansies and portraits to molding porcelain flowers. Visitors can buy china, brushes, paints and supplies and bid on completed pieces at an auction.
The conventions typically charge admission as well as a small fee for demonstrations, Haegele said. “But we want the public to feel comfortable just walking in to see what it’s all about.” Admission is free. Demonstration fees are $4.
“This is a chance to see how it’s done,” said Haegele, who indicated she followed what has become a typical route for china painters. “I didn’t start painting until I retired,” she said. “I was too busy in the Army and traveling.” A favorite aunt had been a china painter at the turn of the 20th century, when the art was at its popular height in the United States. She had died by the time Haegele started looking for a teacher in 1978. She took her first classes at the Baker Hunt Foundation in Covington and suddenly understood what had captivated her aunt all those years. go to web site how to paint
“I just painted all the time. Everything I could get my hands on, I painted,” she said. “I found out all the clubs and seminars.” She went to a school in Arizona and studied portraits with the famed china painter San Do.
That’s the way it starts, she said: first the fascination with the art, then the courage to try it yourself, then the passion to pass it on.
More than two decades later, she’s still holding classes in her basement studio for six to eight women who have become a second family, sharing the a common passion.
“It is very different from painting in oil,” Haegele said. “You have to deal with composition and light like you do in oil painting, but the materials are so different. With china painting you work it into the brush and push it out of the brush. It’s different from picking up paint and smearing it around on a canvas.” The china paint is not paint, it is a powder of minerals and a glass-like agent that is mixed with oil and applied to a piece of glazed china with a delicate touch. Too much and the color will run when fired or leave a raised surface. China pieces are fired repeatedly, as the artists build up the color and design.
“One girl was quite a good artist in oils. She would come to class and cry. She just couldn’t get it,” Haegele said. “All of a sudden it clicked. She said that’s what I’m supposed to be doing.” The key, she said, is to paint, paint, paint. And share.
“Find a teacher or go with somebody to paint,” she said. “You always learn more and you encourage each other. I’ve gone all over the country, and you meet such sweet, dear people in china painting.” Haegele is vice president of the Dixie Porcelain Painters club in Northern Kentucky, which includes some of the few china painting teachers in the area. Cincinnati has virtually no ongoing china painting classes, said Carolyn Fink.
“It’s getting harder and harder to find teachers,” she said. “Everybody is so busy.” She holds occasional Saturday seminars and hosts a monthly meeting of porcelain painters at her Lockland home. go to site how to paint
Conventions like the one in Fort Mitchell are a good introduction to the art, Fink said.
“A lot of people don’t realize the porcelain artist is still out there. It’s all hand-painted, beautiful work — collectors’ items really,” she said. “These are the heirlooms of tomorrow.” Fink was a ceramics teacher in Cincinnati when she saw painted porcelain at a ceramics show. “I couldn’t find a teacher, so I went to teachers in Texas and Oklahoma and California to learn,” she said. That was more than 30 years ago.
“I forget all my cares when I sit down to paint,” she said. “It never gets old. Once someone sees it and understands, they’re a china painter. They’re hooked.” Text of fax box follows:
If you go – What: Eastern Regional International Porcelain Artists and Teachers Convention “Celebration of Color.” – Where: Drawbridge Inn, Fort Mitchell.
– When: Thursday, 1 to 5 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
– Cost: Admission is free.
– Demonstrations: $4 each.
– Banquet: 7 p.m. Friday, $35.
– Events: Auction: 7 p.m. Thursday; exhibit, demonstrations and vendors daily.
Photo (4) JOE MUNSON/The Post Dorothy Walling of Ft. Thomas, Ky., left, and Betty Sue Strange of Crestview Hills, Ky., work on projects at the class taught by Ida Haegele. Betty Sue Strange of Crestview Hills, Ky., paints fruit on a cake plate. Ida Haegele, right, advises Billy Moore of Independence, Ky. Haegele, a former Army nurse, took up china painting after she retired. China painters create permanent paintings, which range from dinner plates to jewelry to formal portraits.