The Sha (clay) workshop is held by Shu Shifu, a renewed ceramist who works for important clients in China. It is located in a 500-meters-street full of ceramic workshops in a town called Yingjing, in Sichuan province. The kind of pieces produced in the workshop are mostly for tea ceremony as well as big vases and sculptures.
Shu Shifu learned this 2000-year-old traditional clay technique when he was a child, as there was nothing better to do in this small town than play with clay, as he told me when I asked him where did he learned the technique.
In the front of the workshop there is a shop, where the produced pieces are sold to prestigious clients coming from all around China. The pieces are fired in a traditional kiln made by a hole in the ground and a half sphere cover made in white clay. All the process is made in the workshop, from the production of clay to the sale.
Black clay is the result of a local white mud with charcoal ashes and mixed with water.
The black pieces are obtained by put them in a hermetic clay container to avoid oxidation during the firing, creating a natural black clay glaze. Alternatively, when the pieces are in contact with air, clay oxidizes, revealing a mix of red and green shiny finishing glaze.
This silver finishing can trick the perception of the observer, as it is difficult to say whether the material is clay or metal. Sometimes during the process, iridescence can accidentally appear. One of my pieces reveals as mall surface of iridescence, but it is difficult to know how to exactly control the firing to get this color according to Shu Shifu.
In the workshop I could feel the energy of craft very much alive, where everyone has their role in the production of the more of 200 pieces made everyday.