Khmer Artisan Project

Side Menu


Picture Gallery

Bruce's Blog - 2012

June 27, 2012

Aside from working on the kiln we have been working on a few different things. One is dinner place settings. The chimney is just about the last thing to do on the kiln. It is really nice the kiln is almost done.Sok Nep here is decorating a vase I made along with another jar. The kiln is finished today. No more brick making and it is time to get into full production.


June 14, 2012

After we salvaged as many bricks as possible the rest went into the recycle bin. This meant schlepping a whole bunch of broken bricks and crumbs. The rain was a mixed blessing. It was cooler but very wet. Ming was using a clay bag as a turban to keep her hair dry. The brick production started immediately again. We needed about 500 replacement bricks. Each brick is about 25 pounds. The kiln is starting to rise out of the rubble. Ming started on her turtle production. To make the clay for the bricks it requires rice hulls. Sok Nep is adding them here. Mixing the clay is done just like old school grape stomping. It just does not smell as good. In a week or so the kiln should be done.



June 13, 2012

The arch to the kiln was almost done. The only thing left to do was put the keystones in place. Ming was trying out one of the wheels donated by Ian Brooks. There was a creek in the timbers then nothing but a pile of rubble. The arch collapsed. Sok Nep was not a happy camper. After a few moments of quite time we immediately started the salvage project. It was really quite a mess.




May 28, 2012

This morning we had an unwanted guest. It was about a three foot Cobra. We were organizing bricks when we came across it. The snake was very fast and aggressive. Cobras can stand almost vertical. A cornered Cobra is nothing to mess with, this one was ready to strike. It did strike at the bamboo when we tried to hit it. The snake got away into the pile of large bricks. We needed those bricks so VERY carefully the bricks were removed. When we were down to a nub we found the snake. It is just behind the front brick in the picture. I made Sok Nep start using a shovel instead of just lifting the bricks by hand. The snake was uncovered and the battle was on. The snake lost. Just to top things off right before going to lunch I got stung by some weird invisible insect on the knee. It feels like a have a giant bee stinger stuck on my knee cap. I hope it goes away fast.

Well just another day at the office.




May 26, 2012

We finally got the shipment from Australia cleared from customs. It arrived late so I took it to the shop the next day. I hired a couple of moto taxi drivers to help lift the wheels into the tuk tuk. It was a full load. After that Sok Nep and I took a load of clay to be ground. It was about 1000 pounds in the trailer. The last picture is the wheels that were donated to KAP from Ian Brooks. Ian many thanks for your generous donation.



In my absence I had Sok Nep make about 600 bricks. This enabled us to begin construction on a smaller kiln quickly. This is a picture of the high tech plans for the kiln. At least Sok Nep and I understand it. Ming is pounding the clay into smaller pieces so the clay will be usable in the grinder. After the clay is ground it is them sifted to get out and rocks and debris. Things are moving right along as the kiln begins to take shape. Hopefully the kiln will be completed by the end of next week or early the week after. Tomorrow we start mixing the clay and production will begin.




May 12, 2012

The 2012 season for Khmer Artisan Project has begun. Last year had to be an abbreviated year due to personal health reasons. Even though the year was cut short much was accomplished. A new roof was put on the shop. We created about ten workable glazes using both imported and local ingredients. Firing the big kiln became much easier and got to temperature no problem. A small shipment of work was brought to the United States and was well received This year our goals are to build a smaller kiln for testing glazes and an extension on the roof to protect it from the rain and elements. Further testing will be done to create a wider variety of glazes. We will be producing larger pots to bring back with the new glazes. All labor will come from OdonRossey village so the money stays in the village.

Starting a couple of days ago it was a flurry of activity. First we got two tuk tuks of wood for fuel. Then a tuk tuk of sand. Soon after that a dump truck showed up with a load of clay from the mountain. Then a large tuk tuk showed up with clay from Prey Khmei. This is excellent white clay. Construction was begun on the extension. The logs and lumber is all had cut with a saw and hatchet. Sok Nep is measuring where the cement footings will go. Joining the extension to the already existing building took a bit of body weight to get it to fit correctly.



The building is starting to take shape. There are always a few kids standing around watching. The other day we had a visit from a French School from Phnom Phen on a field trip to visit the village. They were all very happy get inside the shop where it was cooler and enjoyed the lesson in pottery making. The last picture is a typical lunch rice, mangos, and fish soup...yummy.