Vietnam is proud of its artists and craftsmen in ceramics. The village we visited, Bang Tràng is devoted to ceramics. The workshop down a mysterious set of alleys was expecting us. The owner showed us his workspace and we met his son who was learning the both the trade and was a student at the university of art.

The maestro sat down to show us how to do the crafting of a bottle which would eventually go to Russia for a brand of vodka. He asked us to watch so that we could do a piece later. Which we did.
We went through the various steps of preparation and here where the glaze wAs being applied we saw the young woman dip the slightly dried ceramic piece into the glaze.
Then there we were. Each with a wheel and and tub of water and very soon each of us was given a ball of clay. The master showed us us how to. Here is is holding his ball of clay.
I planned to make a bathtub. And I decided a few birds could be added. We were given 5 minutes. Just in case you can’t recognize the fine points, my bathtub has some birds on each side perched to act as a hand grip to get in and out.

A remarkable part of the visit had to do with a landowner who was badly treated during the communist takeover. Land was redistributed as a means to equalize means of production. A very poor job it was done and Ho Chi Minh himself said it was his biggest mistake.

We went to the house of this family who were landlords of the French period.
Family altar.

The couple who so obviously loved each other spoke of their times. Each came from land owning gentry and so were despised by most communists. They married at night secretly by light of burning bicycle tires and the wife says she still gets scared when she smell burning rubber. Her husband had work at whatever he could find to support the family. They had three children and he was not there for any of the births because he was somewhere working. He had worked as a street sweeper, a water carrier, a garbage collector. Whatever he could find. They had no house and lived under a bridge at one point.

The couple who welcomed us into their home was incredibly gracious. I loved the woman who just wine last year a national cooking prize

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