The whole commune has hundreds of households making pottery, but now only Pham Anh Dao in hamlet 2, Bat Trang commune (Gia Lam, Hanoi) makes hand-thrown pottery. Hand-thrown pottery is beautiful and unique, but for economic benefits, that’s why it is being “crushed” by industrial ceramics. Mr. Dao said: “There are also a number of people coming to study, but no one has a profession!” …
A deaf artisan…
He threw the dirt on the turntable with his hands, wrapped the lump of dirt with his hands, and for a few seconds the dirt was formed into a dumpling shape. Then he deftly pressed his finger in the middle, the earth rotated, quickly cut it into a vase of flowers that looked very soulful … That was Dao’s work, the skill of hand-carving pottery. And also because of that, people here often call him by the affectionate name … “Dao the Pottery man”.
I knew Dao nearly ten years ago, when he was not yet an artist, not a “typical youth of the capital”, not receiving many prestigious awards as of now. Mother Dao recounted, he was a child since birth and had suffered many disadvantages. “She was born twins, weighs only 1.4 kg, brother Pham Anh Duc is 1 pound heavier than him. Although only over 1 ounce, Duc is much healthier, not sick. Maybe all sicknesses and diseases, Dao has taken care of it all ”- his mother said.
Unlike other children, when Dao was 5 – 6 years old, Dao still could not speak, he was walking. Every day Dao just sits around watching his father, Mr. Pham Ngoc Huy – an artist in Bat Trang pottery village making pottery. “She couldn’t speak, but was very attentive, her eyes were bright. Whenever I see the sagging ceramic, I stand up with my hand to signal, or when I see my father claw and draw beautiful pottery, I clap his hands, my face is radiant, so I am also happy ”- Mr. Huy said.
Just like that, at the age of 10, Dao knew how to babble and started going to school, but suffering from too much antibiotics or for some reason, Dao’s ears seemed to hear nothing, if the speaker did not scream. generals up. It was difficult to go to school and it was difficult because I could not listen to the teachers, so finishing 6th grade Dao had to stay at home.
He turned back to his childhood: “When I knew how to knead the soil, my family, my father, he no longer made hand-throwing pottery, nor did he live in the village. I kept tinkering, my first work was a bowl of rice. Holding the rough, patterned hand-brushed bowls, none of them resembled any, I was very happy. Then I love hand-stroking pottery when it is not good “.
In a ceramic exhibition at Bat Trang pottery market, out of admiration and admiration for the talent of the deaf boy, the village girl Nguyen My Trinh in the pottery village of Kim Lan returned with him to build family happiness. They now have 2 sons, one 14 years old and a 10 year old child, and they all study very well.
In 2009, I met Dao again in the ceremony to commend the 10 typical faces of the capital. Dao accepted the award, because he is the number 1 and the only person up to this point in Bat Trang who still works and keeps the pottery line for his wrist. And the special thing is that his hand-claw ceramic is very beautiful, unique, chosen by many fastidious customers, that’s why he was honored as an artist when he was 36 years old.
The fear of losing tradition
Returning to visit Mr. Dao’s family, visiting Bat Trang pottery village, I felt the prosperity of the pottery maker here. Only Mr. Dao’s family is as happy with the small workshop as ever. In the workshop, Mr. Dao is still drunk on ceramic claws. “Poor hand-clawing pottery, while the whole commune has switched to making industrial pottery, why don’t you move?” That question I asked Dao nearly a decade ago. Dao trampled the turntable to stop, saying as surely as a nail: “Everyone is after industry, after money, who else makes hand-claw pottery? I do not make hand-stroke pottery for… money Simply because I like, because I want to keep the ancient pottery line ”.
Currently in Bat Trang there is only Mr. Dao makes hand-thrown pottery, the rest of the households have switched to making industrial ceramics, die-casting ceramics. Keeping the hand-clawed ceramic brand is very arduous ”.
Hearing her husband, Ms. Trinh interrupted him: “My husband is very strange! Everyone praises him for his beautiful ceramic art, anything can be done, just by looking at the pattern he can swipe immediately. In 2008, after 6 months, spending more than 600kg of soil, he clawed and successfully fired a pair of dogs 2.5m high, 1.3m wide, the largest ever. Many guests came to see, many people paid more than 600 million dong, but he refused to sell. My husband said, if we sell it, we do not know if we will do it successfully again ”.
“Why don’t you open a training class for young artisans?” – I ask. “Yes! I am always ready to teach those wishing to learn the craft of hand-clawing pottery, imparting all the skills to them. Up to now, there have been a few dozen students, but only one Angolan boy who learned for 2 years, has made quite sophisticated products, but he has already returned home. In the country, there is also a student named Binh in Nha Trang who has studied for 6 months, and has also made simple products. But listening to my wife, she just sent an email saying she had gone overseas. The rest are not patient enough, learn a few weeks, or just give up a few months. “
Talents and talents of Dao seem to be known to everyone, but it seems that only Dao knows (?!). “If only someone could do it, I would have been able to sit” properly “with you!” – Dao says.
Breaking up with Dao, I brought his worries, could it be that pottery in Bat Trang’s hand was still … just Dao the Pottery man?
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