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[personal profile] morgaina
While walking befuddled down a Chen Lu street, we walked past a shack and someone stuck his head out and emphatically motioned us to come in. We were hesitant because of the aggressive tourist traps we had walked past in Xi'an. But finally we did and found an honest-to-goodness potter. Or rather he found us.

In his studio he had about 7 low-to-the ground electric wheels. He demonstrated throwing a pot and then (this was all in Mandarin so I missed the conversation) I was scooted over to his wheel and sat down. The way his wheel worked was the on switch was on the wall, it had one speed....1000 miles per hour. The clay was very wet and soft, he used no tools. I had noticed that rather than cutting the top off with a pin tool when it got uneven he folded the clay into itself inward. So I gave that a try, he kept helping. He cut that pot off the hump (another of his techniques) and said, through an interpreter that he wanted me to throw another one because I used my hands differently than he did and wanted to see what I did again. So I threw another pot.

I'll be honest, both the little vases I made were embarrassingly weak shapes. If I had some time to practice I think I could have done fine, but it would have taken me some practice to get up to speed. As it was he said I was the best tourist he had ever had and I was Middle Class. What we think this meant was that I could be an apprentice.

So that's something...right?

He was another very friendly person. So many in this village were:
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