Monday, October 15, 2007
Loft studio apartment
When you buy your next cheap planter at the Garden Center or Wally World and think it is mass produced in China- think again. While everyone was going teapot crazy in Yixing I went to the stoneware planter area. I was welcomed into this factory, studio, warehouse, dark, damp and dirty space occupied by these two delightful people. I think they were mom and pop. There was a tent pitched in the back and some woks and cooking utensils so I think this was their artist’s loft studio apt. He puts the slabs and coils of clay into the press molds with the skill of an airplane pilot. I was offered a chair to watch them as I think they were proud that I was so interested in their amazing skill. Mom would jump up to help Dad when he lifted the heavy plaster mold sections off , and to carry the planter to the floor for drying and then squat down again to finish the edges, put the feet on the planters and eventually put the coloured yellow slip on the surface and then do the decorating with Chinese calligraphy. After thorough drying the pots would be transported to the large kiln down the street for firing and then to the packer to pack them for shipping to destinations unknown and far away. Made in China can mean made by hard labour but it does not mean made without soul and a smile.