Throwing and Turning in Jingdezhen

Friday, 14 April 2017 4:42 pm

In my third visit to Jingdezhen in China, my main focus was to make pots and to explore the very special pottery traditions, materials and tools that have developed over the centuries in this centre of world porcelain production.

We were honored to be welcomed into a friends workshop to watch specialist craftspersons throw, turn amd decorate pots. In Jingdezhen they specialise, unlike those of us in the west who have to be complete craftspersons. There are throwers, turners, decorators, glazers and kilners. All of these skilled workers are well paid by Chinese standards.

Because the Porcelain stone used in the clays used needs to be turned when it is almost bone dry, otherwise it shreds, there is a lot of dust generated in the turning process. We had a lot of concern for the lungs of those in the workshop during the turning process. Similarly spray glazing generates a lot of dangerous dusts and some of the practices used wouldn’t meet any of our OH&S standards.  We were assured that these practitioners make enough income that in a few years they can start their own business and work in a healthier environment. We certainly hopes so.


Here is a short film of the making process: