Monday, February 16, 2009

From clay to pot

Srey Pich is preparing her ball of clay before sitting at her potters wheel. Behind her on the left is a pot she made earlier.
Okay, she's now ready to begin, in a workspace underneath her wooden house
During a visit to the pottery-making village of Ondoung Rossey yesterday in Kompong Chhnang, I watched the making of a small, simple pot from start to finish with a timeframe of about 15 minutes. Srey Pich is the only potter in her family and most of the items she makes are sold in the ceramic development co-operative shop just along the lane. However she also has a few items for sale in the space under her house, where she spends her day at her potters wheel, watched by her children, grandmother and chickens. To begin, she plonked a ball of clay in the center of a turntable, which she rotated with a foot pedal. As the wheel span quickly, she pressed and squeezed the clay, gently pulling upwards and outwards into a hollow pot by a series of techniques known as centering, opening, flooring, throwing (not literally) and trimming. After she'd finished on the wheel, she left the pot in the sun to dry. I didn't see a kiln to fire the pot so maybe sun-drying is sufficient, though I doubt it. Perhaps someone can tell me.
First step is to center or shape the clay into the correct style
Now she is opening the pot by making a hole in the center of the clay
Time for a quick joke whilst the opening continues
Combining the skill of opening and throwing, or forming the pot walls
Srey Pich concentrates whilst she throws or pulls the walls of the pot into shape
The pot takes shape as she pulls the walls to an even thickness with her skilled hands
Srey Pich is almost finished, with just some trimming to make her pot complete
There's a variety of pots, some with patterns, for sale underneath Srey Pich's home
Part of the ceramic co-operative showroom in Ondoung Rossey village, with a variety of pottery on display

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Anonymous Eric said...

Yo A.
Was Patrick Swayze in the background...?
BTW, the Srei Pich I know doesn't do anything with pots and clay :-)

February 16, 2009 at 1:46 PM  

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