Frances Palmer Pottery

On the first day in the city, I was taken to the pottery manufacturing district by Maggie from the Potter Workshop. It is incredible to see the porcelain production which is still done by hand.Every job has its own set of workers. The clay is wedged by one person who then places the clay on the wheel.

If the pot is large, two or more people throw the pot. Also, when someone is being trained, they throw the pot with the teacher.

There is a person who makes the bats and chairs that the potters use to throw.

Pottery is also slip cast in molds in vast quantities.

After the work is thrown, it is set out to dry to the leather hard stage. It will then be trimmed by people who do only this task.

This man is trimming large bowls and platters. He pings the pots with his fingers to hear if the width of the walls sounds correct. Then he knows that he has trimmed away the correct amount of clay.

The trimmers wet the clay down with these amazing brushes.

The trimmers use heavy trimming tools that are made nearby in a forge. Everything is beaten into shape by hand.

Larger pots or shapes are thrown in multiple pieces and then joined when leather hard. It is astounding to watch numerous parts of a pot be trimmed and assembled rapidly.

When the pots are trimmed and assembled, the painters do their magic. The men in this painting shop did the most beautiful drawings and brush work. No one signs their name and the finished ware is anonymous.

There is a group of workers who do the glazing with a very simple spraying device.

Work ready to be fired is usually put onto community kiln cars and fired. The translucent porcelain is fired very, very hot. The kilns go up to Cone 13 - 2428 F (I fire to Cone 10 -2345 F as a point of comparison) and they do a firing every day.

Even in the midst of this industry, there is always a need for a bit of a garden.

In the afternoon, were taken outside of the city to the factory where the giant pots are thrown and assembled. It is fantastic to see them in various stages of production.

The kiln in the background is tall enough to accommodate the great height of the pieces.

The patterns are put on with stencils and then the painters do it all by hand.

Here are the finished blue and white pots that are world famous.

At the end of the day, we went to an exhibition opening at the Sanbao International Daily Life Ceramic Art Exhibition. This was a gallery for beautiful potters on a more intimate scale.

It was amazing to see all of this production and I wanted to share it while it was fresh in my mind.

 

Written by Frances Palmer — May 03, 2013

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