Day three of the residency began with a disappointment. The brick and tile factory through which the clay is sourced makes black tiles, and more than half the makers were looking forward to working in black clay. Yesterday, they were assured that it would be delivered. Today, they were told that it was unavailable. Black clay is used in the factory periodically, but it would take two weeks to strip down the machines and change the clay – not to mention the disruption to production. So a number of makers had to rethink their plans. This was another lesson in cultural communications: when our helpful translators are asked if something is possible they will often say yes first, and then go and find out if it really is possible – a slow process fraught with many levels of rank. The translators – high heels, mobile phones – have little in common with the factory workers whose work is intensely physical and who have no interest in being disturbed on their tea-break to satisfy artists' whims.
Another discovery - the Museum of Irish Ceramic Art in China hasn't actually been built yet (somehow we travelled over with the idea of a spanking new museum eagerly awaiting Irish work). The main hotel will shortly be demolished, along with the Scandinavian Museum and the Eastern European Museum, to make room for a bigger, better hotel and museum complex, where the Irish collection will ultimately be housed. In the meantime it will go into the Visitors' Centre, currently a craft shop selling kitsch Chinese ceramics and ice-lollies, but about to be transformed into a promising exhibition space.