It's been awhile since I posted part 1, so forgive me if my writing is a bit sketchy...
Leaving the first house, we walked down to another ceramics place, just a few doors from the first house. This second place was more like a warehouse with beautiful big vases stacked against the front wall. As soon as we walked in the door, we could see a massive kiln in the middle of the room - apparently disused by the number of vases stacked against it. The room was big and dark, with no lighting except for the sunlight filtering in through the traditional bamboo framed windows.
Amidst the vases on the floor, a young man and a boy are busy applying a white substance to the vases. My brother politely asked if we could look around and take pictures, and they didn't mind. The young man told us that he's just an employee but if we were interested, the shop that sells the final products is located on the main road.
When I asked, he explained that the white substance they were applying to the vases was a building material (I suppose a sort of rendering material) that acts as a base before the vases are painted using car paint. I was quite surprised by this. I suppose firing the vases once only, and then using building materials and car paints to achieve the glossy look would be a cheaper alternative to the way I have been taught in Sydney. Here, I would normally bisque fire my piece, apply the glaze and the refire to full temperature. Since the places in Plered uses woodfired kilns, it would be more efficient and economical to only fire once to full temperature. And using building materials and car paint would take away the need to refire - thus eliminating the chance of glazing accidents which can sometimes happen in the kiln.
I couldn't help but to think that the building material they are using is probably toxic because of the strong paint smell, and they were applying it with their bare hands. But the vases were really lovely, graceful in their shapes, some with intricate carvings, in various sizes. As we left the building to go to the next place, I noticed the red ceramics shards littering the earthen road outside.
Irine is a recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts' Artstart Grant (June 2014-2015).
This website has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts
funding and advisory body.