Khmer Artisan Project

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Bruce's Blog 2014

August 15, 2014


A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine came up from Phnom Phen for a visit and take some pictures. The following pictures were what he took.

A vase is almost finished. It is just missing the top piece. Mum, Ming and I are enjoying an afternoon snack of dried fish rice and cucumbers. A guy came by with a cart full of coconuts . He is preparing them for drinking. The production never stops. One of the many steps in making the large vases is rolling coils so they can be attached to the pots. After the coils are attached they are stretched and molded into the correct form. Firing the kiln is very hot work. I am wearing the sweatshirt for protection from the heat. Here I am scraping out the charcoal from the bottom of the firebox. It is really hot work firing the kiln.


 

July 21, 2014

It has been a busy past few weeks. We have fired the kiln twice. Both firings came out great and finished within 10 minutes of each other. I am very happy with the results we are getting with the glazes. All of these pieces are single fired with the glazes.. no bisque firing. Mum brought some dried fish we had for an afternoon snack with rice and coconut milk. Doing the coil pots is a slow business but I think I am getting it down. The last picture is rolling out a coil on the wedging board.

 

 

June 21, 2014


The first vases of this year are being completed. It is almost a rhythm of completing the steps to make the vases. When it is break time it usually becomes somewhat of a social gathering with food. I have always encouraged people to do their own projects. Gapow and the girls are unloading a tuk tuk of piggy banks that will be fired in the elephant kiln. It is very nice to have Paula back. She is an someone in Phnom Phen. Mums kids are cleaning off the dirt of some vases Ming made to get ready to go to the market in Siem Reep and Phnom Phen. I have also been mixing glazes. The other day we got wood delivered and cut it into burnable logs. We should be ready for a firing in about two weeks

 

 

 

June 9, 2014


The roof got finished and it was time to get to work. The first order of business was to prepare the clay. A tuk tuk brought a couple of tons of raw clay. First it had to be pounded into smaller chunks. Then the clay is mixed with a few other ingredients then bagged up and taken to another house where they have a grinder. After the clay is ground it is sifted to get the larger pieces removed. Gapow is sifting some clay. Dalat is breaking the clay into smaller pieces. It is a slow process. The clay bags are not light. Gapow is dragging the bags into place to be put in our tuk tuk. Inside one of the big kiln chambers are a bunch of big vases that were not completed last year. This is a picture of the new finished roof  for the shop.Ming is mixing the powdered clay with water. Behind her is about 300 pounds of clay on the wedging board waiting to me to make it into workable clay. That is how I usually start out my day. We have an excellent team of people this year and should be able to produce lots of great pieces.

   

 

May 17, 2014:

It was a late start for the year at KAP but it has now officially started. The first order of business was to put a new roof on the shop. The palm frawn shingles are really nice because they do not get hot but they just don't last very long. This time we are doing a metal roof but the roof will have an opening to draw the heat out the top. As you can see the roof is in very sad shape.

Taking off the old roof was the first project. Ming is gathering some of the good ones. Nothing goes to waste. The shingles that could be used will go to make a chicken coop for one of the laborers. The shingles that are useless get burned in a bonfire in the middle of a rice field to help fertilize the soil.

It was a late start for the year at KAP but it has now officially started. The first order of business was to put a new roof on the shop. The palm frawn shingles are really nice because they do not get hot but they just don't last very long. This time we are doing a metal roof but the roof will have an opening to draw the heat out the top. As you can see the roof is in very sad shape.

Taking off the old roof was the first project. Ming is gathering some of the good ones. Nothing goes to waste. The shingles that could be used will go to make a chicken coop for one of the laborers. The shingles that are useless get burned in a bonfire in the middle of a rice field to help fertilize the soil