Thursday, 9 January 2014

Refinement of Clay

Compiled from The Traditional Crafts of Porcelain Making in Jingdezhen

Photo 1

Photo 2-3: The traditional method of washing clay is done in washing vats. The vats are composed of 3 wooden buckets side by side and the middle one is oval and is called the 'coarse bucket'.The other 2 buckets on both sides of the oval one are round and are called 'fine buckets' (the words 'coarse' and 'fine' are used to refer to the clay) 

Photo 4: Before washing the clay, water is poured into the 'coarse bucket'. Then, a wooden railing is placed into it. Some smashed Dunzi is placed on the railing. It is left overnight to dissolve. Before proceeding with the fine washing the next morning, the wooden railing is first taken out. Then, large impurities from the clay are removed.   

Photo 5: A set of buckets used for clay washing. Left: Iron rake, middle: clay pan, right: micro mesh sieve 

Photo 6: The settled raw materials are stirred with an iron rake till it becomes 'slurry'.

Photo 7: An alternative method of stirring raw materials. 

Photo 8-11 (Clockwise from top left): 

8-9: Water is scooped out and poured into the coarse bucket.

10: The 'slurry' is scooped out of the coarse bucket and poured into the micro mesh sieve and fine bucket.

Photo 12 & 13 (below): The filtered 'slurry' is poured into a number of clay buckets (aka clay-drying bucket).

Photo 13

Photo 14: The porosity of the refractory is favourable to remove water out of the 'slurry'.

Photo 15 & 16 (below): 

The 'slurry' at the sides harden faster than the ones in the middle. As such, workers stir them with their hands from time to time to speed up the removal of water.

Photo 16

Photo 17 (top) & Photo 18 (bottom)

Photo 19 & 20: Photos 17-20 show the process of removing the clay and taking it to the clay house for 'aging'

Photo 21: The floored is cleaned.

Photo 22: Slabstone/cloth is spread out on the floor.

Photo 23-25 (top-bottom)

Photo 26

Photo 27

In Photos 23-26, the clay is tramped on. This is called 'tramping the lotus mound'. Photo 27 is an example of the finished clay.

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