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From Clay to Kiln: A Visit to the Icheon Ceramics Village in Korea

Rochel Burstyn

Hi everyone! Come join me as I find the perfect birthday present for my mother. She loves beautiful, one-of-a-kind gifts, so I’ve travelled all the way to the Icheon Ceramics Village in Korea to get her something special. The entire village is packed with hundreds of curious tourists and is humming with activity. I’m excited to discover how a lump of clay can turn into something pretty and useful. Come join me and you’ll find out, too!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

See this unappealing gray lump? Clay looks sort of like Play-Doh but without the fun colors. I can’t help asking, “What’s so special about clay?”

The Korean potter looks scandalized. He responds animatedly in Korean, but I don’t understand a word of what he’s saying, so I turn to my translator.

The translator explains, “Clay is made from decomposed rock that has been broken down by the elements over many years. In Korea, clay is gathered from river banks. Each area’s clay has qualities that make especially fine pottery. Clay is special both because of its plasticity, which means that it retains its shape when it’s molded, and because of the way it reacts to fire.”

 

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