Saturday, September 29, 2007

Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute

This is the studio that we get to work in. It looks great but lacks some of the comforts that we are used to. Right now we sweat buckets, soon enough we will be freezing. At night the light is poor and the mosquitoes come out in hordes. By Chinese standards the studio is unbelievably nice. I have done some exploring with my friend Bobby Free to some back alley dark and dirty studios. We set the camera up on timer and the flash caught all of the silica in the air. I don’t think they know what silica is so it does not affect them. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. We had demonstrators come and show us how they work. The clay wedger is an apprentice to the thrower who has to throw 2,000 to 4,000 pounds of clay per day depending on the size of the forms. That means that this kid moves 6 to 12 thousand pounds of clay per day. First to the wedging bench, then he wedges it and gives it to the thrower, then he moves the thrown pots outside. It is no wonder that he has zero body fat. Also, the wedger has secretarial duties because the thrower is to busy to stop throwing.

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