Friday, September 28, 2007

Damn right, I got da blues!






Joe Molinaro of Eastern Kentucky U and I visited a factory full of little rooms, full of ladies working making decals. If it was a sweat shop it was Joe and I that were the only two sweating. It was steaming hot in there and the charcoal stove was lit in the middle of the room with the tea kettle going. The women have to produce 1000 decal sheets per day. You can buy 1000 sheets for $13. Rumour has it they sell for $13 US a sheet in Japan. Not a bad profit margin. I bought a handful at half a yuan a sheet or 6 cents a sheet. They are mostly blue but there was black, green and red. Jingdezhen loves it's blue and white. I thought the decals might be nice cut up and positioned on Sheila's boxes but then Sheila's favourite decoration is no decoration. The blue goo was spread on an engraved plate with the design on it, the goo is scraped off, a sheet put on top and then pressed thru a mini slab roller. The sheets are then spread behind the ladies to dry. These are high temperature stains so they make look very nice on a white porcelainous stoneware and wood fired.
We then went to a shop where 3 women were making little clay butterflies.
This was a nice studio with lots of light and very clean.
The two Chinese grad students were our angels. They took us where we would never have ventured or even be allowed to go. They also paid for our taxi cabs. Want to be a grad student in China- start by being bilingual!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So where are the sweat shops? When I was in China we visited several factories but I never saw children working in them. The workers were all nicely clothed (not in tattered rags); in fact, some of the younger women were obviously interested in fashion, which tells me they have enough money to make choices. The women in the decal shop probably weren't paid much, but then you fed yourself and two friends for under a dollar - it's all relative, isn't it?

Thanks for blogging - I get to spend a little more time in China, with a lot more depth, even if it's vicariously. It's a fascinating place and I'd love to go back. I'd like to know more Chinese next time, though. It's so cool that you get language lessons!

Jeannean