China Trip - Day 6 Chaozhou
On Day 6 we woke up early and took the bullet train to Chaozhou, also known as the ceramics capital of China. This day was so exciting! We ended up visiting three factories on this trip. The first was a factory where they made hand painted ceramics. These workers were fast and efficient! First a worker would stamp an outline of the design on a plate using a piece of foam and food coloring. Then the plate would go to another worker to apply the first set of colors and then passed to a third worker to apply the second set of colors. Overall, each worker spent no more than a minute on each piece. You can see the process in the photos and video above.
Next, we would see thousands of glaze test tiles at two different glaze factories. We ended up spending too much time at the first factory so we didn’t have much time to look through glaze tests. It was quite overwhelming to even begin to look through the glaze selections. There was no organization just test tiles everywhere, on the floor, on the shelves, in cabinets, on sliding racks, and in boxes! Yikes, all I could do was quickly walk through and photograph tiles that might work for our projects. Just before leaving the second factory we were invited into the glaze testing room to see where the magic happens. There was a woman mixing glazes who so kindly let us look around her work space. There were mugs with raw materials lined up on the wall, a row of glaze tests sitting on the table, and a notebook with glaze recipes open next to a scale. I could’ve spent much more time here if we didn’t have to get back to the train station.
The best part of the trip was on the way back to the train station. I had mentioned to our host that I wanted to find an Yixing style teapot while in China. I wasn’t sure what my free time would look like for the trip and if I would be able to make it up to Jingdezhen, where I was hoping to find a teapot. But as it turned out our driver new a local potter and took us to his store. I knew right away that this was a gem of an opportunity!!! I had about 15 minutes to select a teapot and purchase it. The potter was not there but I did get to meet his wife and have tea with her. She pointed out photos of him, showed us his awards, and told us about his accomplishments. This was truly a treat!!!