A true delight it was to ride my bicycle through the sweet UNESCO World Heritage town of Hoi An and end up at this pottery village. It took a while for us to realize that everyone was just making pots in & around their homes. The only thing about this village that felt touristy was paying the 20,000 dong ($1.00) to enter....after that....we were on our own for a self guided tour of every nook & cranny of this incrediable operation. Everyone was so friendly, welcoming and sharing of their talents. A highlight was certainly being able to make my own pot on a ground level pottery wheel powered by an older ladies constant kick at my wheel.
Bat Trang Pottery Village 45 mins outside of Hanoi, Vietnam 2012
This place was a bit more of a challenge to get to than the others. It took almost 2 hours in a windy rainstorm while asking literally more than 20 people how to find the bus station we needed to take us the 45 mins outside of Hanoi to the town of Bat Trang. Finally headed in the right direction we arrived at the pottery village a bit frazled and chilly but excited. This type of ceramic production is all done with various slips and plaster molds. We found ourselves in warehouses with huge gas kilns and groupings of people filling molds with slip & trimming the excess. Another self guided tour found us wondering into peoples homes and making the most of some improvised sign language to get the message across that in Canada...I make pots too! After spending a good part of the day wondering around it was time to choose some pieces to buy. I picked up a bowl that had circles all over it. I decided I loved it and wanted it and then I turned it over and saw the IKEA stamp on the bottom. I had travelled all this way to buy an IKEA bowl....but then again...I got to visit where this bowl was made and that made me happy.
BRICK FACTORY PHU QUOC ISLAND, VIETNAM 2012
I saw many brick factories while travelling about but it wasn't until Phu Quoc while riding upon a motorbike that I was able to stop and take a real look around. People were busy at work and the language barrier kept me from asking many questions but it was still an amazing exploration. I have no desire to work in a factory setting but to see how it all works and that they dig the clay right out behind the production gets me excited. I dream of the day when I can just dig up some clay from my backyard and make something with it.