Thursday, March 24, 2011

How Terracotta Garden Pots Are Made In Thailand

Three countries Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand all manufacture Terracotta Pots great products all made using different processes the only things in common are all the factories are extremely hot and dirty (hey they are making master pieces out of clay).

Thai pots are still made using time old tried and tested traditional methods. Pots are hand crafted (thrown on a wheel) the only thing that has changed over the centuries is the wheels now run on power. Pots are generally fired in traditional wood fired kilns (not too many modern gas fired kilns). Wood fired kilns do not reach the temperature of the modern gas fired kilns so you don't see too many glazed pots the majority of pots are painted (washed) using house paints and waxed after firing. The result is quite stunning and very different from the other countries.

The process of mixing the clay is pretty much the same in all countries starts with a pile of dirt (clay) which is crushed, blended and mixed through several machines ending up in long rolls cut to size (depending on size of pots being made) I have a movie I took in Malaysia which covers it off.

Even through the pots are hand thrown the craftsmen and they are craftsmen trust me it is harder than it looks, each worker produces hundreds of pots a day. Below movies show two craftsmen throwing pots (they did not speed up for the movie they work at this pace all day long! Note the metal rod on the side of the wheel this is the guide to show height etc of the pot being made


The next step is the green pots are spread out to dry where shapes can be changed pots etched  as per below pictures
Round Pots being reshaped and etched

Green pots drying 

Green pots covered in plastic to help keep clean and dry

Once the pots have dried they are the stacked into the kilns ready for firing. This kiln has been open for over 18 hours and is almost empty, It was still very hot inside

Door to Kiln all Pots are loaded and unloaded through this door
Inside the Kiln

Side view of kiln approx 20 metres long

Once Kiln is loaded the door os sealed with bricks and plastered over with clay, fires are set along the side of the kiln it takes upwards of 24 hours to fire the pots

Once the Pots are fired they are Painted/Washed and waxed
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Painting and washing

Finished product

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