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Sarawak Pottery 砂拉越陶器

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Pottery made in Sarawak is of two distinctive types – one done by the Iban, Murut and Kelabit potters and the other by Chinese potters.  Today, the range of Sarawak’s potters have improved vastly as they create ceramic stools, drinking water cisterns, decorative jars and vases, lamps, candle holders, ashtrays, teapots, mugs and even photo frames.

What is Pottery?

Before we dive into the history of pottery, let’s actually define what pottery is and how it’s made.

Pottery is made up of ceramic materials and encompasses major types of pottery wares such as earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. To be considered pottery, a piece must be a fired ceramic ware that contains clay when formed.

To create a piece of pottery, the potter must form a ceramic/clay body into a specific object, whether by hand built or wheel thrown techniques, and then heat it at a high temperature in a kiln to remove water from the clay. This allows for changes in the molded object, increasing its strength and durability while permanently setting its shape.

The potter can decorate the clay body either before or after firing, however, some processes require the clay go through certain preparations in order to successfully create a piece of work. With kneading, a process which involves massaging the clay with your hands, it allows moisture within the clay to spread throughout the entire slab. When done correctly the clay will have even moisture content and you’re one step away from creating.

The next preparatory procedure when working with clay is called de-airing. This is accomplished either by a vacuum machine that is attached to a pugmill or manually through the process of wedging. When the clay has been de-aired and de-moisturized, it’s ready to be shaped in a variety of ways. Once it’s shaped, it’s dried and then fired.

在砂拉越制造的陶器有两种不同的类型 – 一种由Iban,Murut和Kelabit陶工完成,另一种由中国陶工制作。今天,砂拉越的陶器产量大大提高,因为他们创造陶瓷凳子,饮用水水箱,装饰罐和花瓶,灯具,烛台,烟灰缸,茶壶,杯子甚至相框等等。