Monday, November 5, 2012

Cloisonne and Ceramics Factory

Pot at ceramics factory in Beijing

On the way home we stopped at a cloisonne factory and a ceramics factory. We actually asked to go. Usually the tour guides sneak it into the itinerary so they an get a commission from the factory.

This is the start of the process. They solder these copper parts together to form the shape of the object.

We were there at lunch time so we didn't get to see them at work.

Next they glue on wires to form the pattern on the surface of they object.

Click to see the detail on the pattern.

Then they paint the individual cells (or cloissons) between the wires with vitreous enamel (according to Wikipedia) of various colors. After each painting the object is fired in an oven. This is repeated 8 or so times.

Once the cells are filled, the object is polished to smooth the surface so the wires and enamel form a smooth surface. Successively finer grinding material are used from very coarse to very fine.

At this factory the exposed wires are electroplated with gold to give a surface that won't tarnish.

Here is the final product. That plate in the middle has a price tag of 68,000 RMB. That is over $10,000! The price is negotiable on the larger pieces.
Entrance to ceramics factory in Beijing

Next we headed to the ceramics factory. This is the entrance from the main road into the factory.
Old buildings at ceramics factory in Beijing

This wasn't exactly what I expected. It was a series of old looking buildings with broken windows, etc.

Mold room at ceramics factory in Beijing

This is one of the buildings filled with molds.
Showroom at ceramics factory in Beijing

This is the showroom. Allegedly this offers better pries but I'm not convinced the place is currently making items. I wonder if the pieces aren't made elsewhere.

It for certain is (or at least was) a ceramics factory. We saw the molds, the pumping equipment, bags of clay, a kiln.

Part of the place was falling down.
Tile, mud, thatch roof construction at ceramics factory in Beijing

I thought the roof construction technique was interesting. It is tile over mud over thatch over boards

Click to enlarge.
Lock on weathered door at ceramics factory in Beijing

Interesting lock and door.

In the midst of the run down factory you can find these really pretty flowers.

Pump and tank at ceramics factory in Beijing

This is some sort of pump. I imagine it is filling the molds.

Here Margot displays a small pot.

We did buy a few things.

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