Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Same old, same old (sort of)

I've had a couple more interesting days, like all the days in St. Petersburg thus far. Yesterday we visited the Imperial Porcelain Factory. At first I thought it was really boring - we went through the museum part with a guide telling us about the whole history of porcelain creation. Pretty stuff but not particularly interesting to me. The exciting part came when we got to go into the actual factory part. We didn't go to the mass production area, but instead got to see the creative production department, where all the master artists were creating one-of-a-kind pieces in porcelain. It was pretty cool. We even saw a lady creating a gold over-glaze. Wow.
After lunch we had free time/studio time. I'm not really taking studio classes with the others, but have joined them for a few activities (ie - the traditional wood painting). Yesterday they were getting stuff ready for our trip to the printshop. Elena let me make one too - we'll see how it comes out.
I'm entertaining the idea of getting something together to put into the final show. It's not a requirement for me like for the others but it might be fun. All this creativity is making me want to start painting. Who knows - we'll see how much time I have left after the trip to Moscow.
Today we took another bus trip - this time to the towns/palaces of Pushkin and Pavlovsk. Pushkin was the summer residence of the royal family, mainly used by Catherine the Great (though it was built before her time). It was really pretty, and a nice day for strolling through the gardens. The best part of Pushkin was outside the palace though. The reason the town is called Pushkin is because it is home to the Lyceum - the school set up by the tsar for elite education - where Alexander Pushkin was a member of the first graduating class. We went on a brief walk through the museum, and even got to see his bedroom at school. It's smaller than my closet! Really a very cool little side trip that I'm glad Elena came up with.
After that, we hopped on a bus for Pavlovsk, where we ate lunch and wandered through the English gardens before visiting the palace. This was the palace of Paul I (son of Catherine the Great) and his wife (after his death since he only reigned for about 5 or 6 years). I loved the gardens there. I've discovered that I really like the over-grown, natural-looking English-style gardens over the crisp and proper French gardens (like they have at Pushkin). I just like wandering about in the woods a little too much. And today was a perfect day for it.
Of course, right now it has started raining. I'm really not looking forward to the walk home. But I'll live - it's a nice little break from the heat.

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