Friday, June 19, 2009

Cambodian pottery

Photo from Khmer Ceramics.

I have a good friend from Singapore who is on a visit and yesterday we went to see how Khmer pottery and ceramics are made. The little workshop and retail outlet, called Khmer Ceramics is on the way to Siem Reap's airport and is run by a friendly couple, a Belgian man, Serge, and his Cambodian wife.

When you visit, a Cambodian guide will explain how Cambodian ceramics are made. The process starts with 3 different types of clay: red, white and yellow. After moulding the clay on a wheel, it is fired in a modern, gas-powered kiln from 850 to over a thousand degrees. There is also a replica of a traditional kiln on the site. Coloured glazing is sometimes added to the clay and the colouring is made from natural materials like rice husks and iron. The result is blue, green, or red ceramics.

Ceramic plates have been ordered by restaurants and small containers are used in hotels to hold shampoo etc. There are also larger pieces, one vase had Khmer writing all around, which was beautiful. You can get gifts for as little as a dollar. I also spotted a vase for USD250.

There was a group of small French children who were learning from an Irishman, himself a teacher of ceramics in Ireland. There was also another customer--the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong. Meeting him deserves an entry in itself.

I am interested in the classes and the cost goes down with the number of participants so if anyone wants to join me, do email me.


canadasue said...

I'll be in Phnom Penh next week... how I wish I was living closer to the pottery class... I've found creating in clay a beautiful way to connect with a place and people.
I've been reading and enjoying your blog much. You seem so connected to the Heart of Cambodia.

Diana Saw said...

Hey canadasue, thanks for the comment. The pottery centre (and me) are actually in Siem Reap. I'll let you know if and how I get on with pottery. Thanks for reading my blog. I do it in the spirit of sharing what life is like for a foreigner in Cambodia.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin