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chinese ceramic tools and equipment

updated fri 28 jul 06


Martie (aka the Kiln Priestess) on thu 27 jul 06

Hello to the list:

I have just spent the past three months in Hong Kong ordering supplies and
equipment for a new ceramic studio at the Academy of Visual Arts in Hong
Kong. Believe it or not, after sending out bids for everything from kilns
to glaze materials from suppliers both in the United States and here in
Hong Kong, it turns out that almost everything that we will be using in
the new studio will have come from America (some US products will come
directly from suppliers and some through Hong Kong distributors). The
exception is the tables, shelving, stools and other pieces of furniture
that the HK Baptist University is having made to my specifications by
local contractors. The university procurement authority and I met with a
group of contractors who will send us bids for the work to be done. The
irony is not lost on me that at home in the US I have wonderful Chinese
tools that I purchased in Jingdezhen, China, however, I cannot order these
same types of tools for teaching in Hong Kong because no one here carries
them. There are a lot of studio potters in Hong Kong, and everyone that I
know pretty much gets their materials from either the US, England, or
Australia. (The exception being Chinese brushes, which can be easily
purchased almost anywhere.) The clay that I am ordering for the students
to use next semester comes from Laguna Clay, because the person who will
be teaching the beginning ceramics course also teaches ceramics with this
same clay at the Chinese University.

Also, I can travel across the boarder to mainland China to look for
materials if I need to, but I really do not have the time to try to hunt
down all of the small items that a studio needs to be equipped with in the
hopes that I can find some good tools that were locally made. Instead, I
have gone shopping in the industrial districts of Hong Kong and I have
tried to find as many items as I could in the local specialty markets. An
example would be the purchase of solid wooden rolling pins at a restaurant
supply store. However, there is a procurement problem with how much money
I have from a special account for orders of this nature that do not need
to be approved by the tendering department at the university. I have to
put the studio together with the best equipment at the lowest price and do
it all as quickly as possible. So while Chinese goods are flooding into
the US, a lot of us in Hong Kong are ordering materials and art supplies
from America.

I also should explain that I am a seasoned veteran shopper of ceramic
materials in Hong Kong and that my purchasing experiences are not because
I am new to procuring equipment here. Although I am sure that we will be
seeing ceramic equipment from China in the future, I think that for the
time being that I will still be ordering a lot of materials from a couple
of local suppliers who together stock almost everything that Laguna, Amaco
or Bailey and sells.

Maybe what we need in Hong Kong is a Chinese Clayart store. Then I
wouldn=92t need to order my Chinese tools from California anymore.