We got to see a lot of factories on our tour of China, back in 1991. I found it fascinating to peek inside this world. In this photo of an artisan at work, a lady fixes a clay leaf and stalk to a clay vase.
We weren’t there long enough to see the finished product or find out how long it would take her to finish but many of the finished pieces we saw were very elaborate and she was clearly just starting this piece.
After she would finish the piece would go to another artist who would paint it in colored glazes before the pieces would be fired.
The only clay work I’ve ever done was at school. I would hazard a guess that this company’s failure rate in the kilns was significantly less than that of my 7th grade art class!
Of course, relative to wages in the west, she would have been paid peanuts so the finished piece would be significantly cheaper than a comparative product made in the UK or US. And she was just one of a room full of workers engaged in similar work.
Looking on this photo now I wonder what happened to this piece. Where did it go when it was finished? Does it still exist on a shelf in someone’s home, gathering dust? Or did it come to grief in some accident and fracture into a million pieces to be swept up and cast out with the rest of the trash.