On our way from Samarkand to Bukhara we saw lots of fields of cotton – why with no water would this country grow so much cotton? Because they were ordered to by the Soviets. Cotton is picked by hand by women and we have seen many.
There is one man sitting on a barrel, the rest of the folks are women.
About half mile outside of the city we stopped at a ceramic factory. Yes, it had western bathrooms a ver attractive feature. The ceramics uses local clay as a base (no surprise) and had the usual additives. The amount of time between forming on kick wheels is just the same as our tradition, in fact nothing seemed very different until it came to firing.
To the right of our ceramicist is a new (one month old) kiln that is cooling after 36 hours of having the fire extinguished. It will be opened tomorrow. He will drop down to the floor of the kiln which is about 7 feet deep and remove the items one by one to his assistant kneeling above. This kiln is for large items. The kiln of his left fires smaller objects which are lowered down in racks.
Small objects including clay whistles are made by women.
One interesting bit of info is that all the colors are ground in house, there are no purchased ready-made colors. One day a year a donkey is brought in to turn the crusher.
Wish I could be here to see the prep of the floor and the cleanup afterwards.