Friday, April 30, 2010

Flags everywhere.


Red River mosaic wall.

Some photos of the mosaic wall along the Red River in Hanoi, Vietnam.
It is many kilometers long and has a wide variety of style and colour.
A wonderful backdrop to the drama taking place in a busy Hanoi..

Bat Trang, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Yesterday I went to Bat Trang; A pottery Village 6KM South East of Hanoi.
The adventure really starts once you've crossed the Red river. The
road is a narrow strip of concrete, really only one lane wide.
Often seeing trucks coming from the opposite direction and thinking
there's no way we are going to get past. A few times we almost didn't,
pressed up hard against the dirt embankment, but somehow it all sorts itself out.
On arrival in Bat Trang, I initially avoided walking into any shops or
display centres. I went for a walk around the village for about an hour, finding some amazing
Ultimately I ended up at a huge ceramic market and overwhelmed for
choice, I walked away with a couple of little white porcelain bowls,
made in Bat Trang.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lights camera.

Time exposures taken at dusk in Hanoi. Lights and the smoke of motobikes.
I'm starting to loose my fear of crossing the road here in Vietnam.
Though it can still be daunting walking out in front of dozens of
motobikes at any one time. The trucks still scare the heck out of me.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bronze Sculpture of a potter.

I went to the Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum In Hanoi today.
Towards the end, on the 3rd floor of the old French colonial mansion,
I found this lovely minimalist bronze sculpture.

"Ceramic fabrication" H: 40cm.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010


A street in HCMC (Saigon) phone lines waist high

This was not an uncommon sight. Broken lines dangling by the dozen sometimes.

Makes me think off those people I heard about back in the '90's complaining to Telecom Australia (now Telstra) that their phone line kept dropping out, and Telecom saying everything seemed fine. I figure loosing your phone line is a common occurrence in Vietnam. I guess they just string another; must be some reason why the looms are so thick.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bowl 15th-16th century?

This is a bowl I bought in Saigon (HCMC) this week.
Unfortunately the staff in the shop did not speak any English, and
I only know a couple Vietnamese words,  So I'm only left to my observations to work out it's date and origins.
It was in a special cabinet with a variety of ceramic and metal
All the characteristics seem right. A bare foot ring on the inside
base. Some little blisters in the glaze. Remains of two rims on the
outside, some inside. And the base of another inside. All nicely
slumped to one side.
Yes you could probably fake all this but I think I've been doing
ceramics long enough to read it. Besides the skills of throwing
something like this and slumping it just so would be considerable, and better rewarded making un slumped 15th-16th century reproductions.
But, If your from Vietnam and could do this, please contact me, I'm here
for two more weeks looking for a good thrower.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A picture for Sophie milne.

Power lines galore. Sophie Milne heaven I think.
Vietnam, HCMC (Saigon) District 1.

Sent from HCMC via bad hotel wifi from my iPod.

Vietnam trip.

Monday, 10th of may 2010.
Im on the train from bendigo to sunbury, then onto Tulla.
I think I left the kettle on but I know I turned the mains power off.
Why do I still worry that the kettle is going to melt and burn the
house down?

Vietnam, I'm on my way
Up up and away!

Apparently I'm just east of Mildura. That was quick. Pilot just said
we will fly over Birdsville and Tenant creek. Hope he says something
when we are, else I'll never know.

Darwin in about 4 hours. Here I come.

Oh, after going through check in and halfway to the security (xray) a
check-in person caught up to me and asked if I had two passport photos
for my visa. I don't. He phoned someone to double check if I need them,
apparently the requirements for business visas change regularly.
There's nothing to say I need them. Could be interesting when I get to
hcmc (Saigon). Hope they don't want any photos
for the visa. I have a passport pic on my mem stick, if I find a place
to print it at Darwin I will.
Lots of cloud below me now. Should try and get a quick nap. Only had
five hours last night. I hate to drible in public though.
Clouds breaking now. There's a beautiful creek below, is very bendy.
Winding back on itself all over the place. Not unlike the first pic on
my imageslider.blogspot blog. Must find some more images to upload to
that blog.

It's pretty dry country out the window now. Scattered trees and green
circles from sprinkler irrigation.

Melbourne to Darwin flight.
Everyones drinking bundaberg rum and/or Jim beam.

Just took some photos looking north east. Just south of Alice springs.
I think looking toward lake eyre?
Not sure if you know that last month Queensland had a once in a
hundred years drop of rain, and it's slowly moving south. Also, here
in central Australia it's below sea level. It's usually bone dry

6:29pm Darwin time.
Darwin airport.
It's so hot here!

At the gate waiting for boarding.
No change for a cold drink. So can't wait for in-flight service. Just
announced that hcmc flight is now boarding. Cold drink here I come.
Must also say the security check in was very friendly in Darwin.
Melbourne never is. I seem to get the same cranky guy every time.
Got to go to boardind now.

6:42pm. Darwin time.
Well I'm seated (window) on the plane. Hungry now. Not so thirsty,
infact it's chilly. Aircon on full bore. The aircon is pouring out
like dry ice, quite beatifull, the full length of the cabin has a mist
coming from above the windows between the cabin wall and the back of
the cabin baggage section.
Come on people, sit down, let's go.
Have to switch off for takeoff now. Yay. Cabin crew please prepare the
plane for departure.

7:14pm. Darwin rime.
Just taken off from Darwin.
A mad rush for seats as soon as the bell sounded. It was not the
announcement to take seat belts off though.
I booked a window seat down the back. I usually try to sit in front of
the wings so I don't get that exhaust vapour, but I may reconsider
that for future flights.
I was one of three in the last four rows and have my row to myself.
When the bell sounded someone quickly unbuckled and it was
On for young and old. Actually the old did not stand a chance.
Positions were taken and armrests put down; feet up and reclining
snooze positions taken.
It's pitch black outside. I should get a Baileys instead of that coke.

Im at hcmc walking along the long entry from disembarking the plane.
It's brand spanking new. Last time I was here it was so old. (1960/70)
To be continued...

Sent from my iPod

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


It's been a long time coming but this Easter holiday, I decided to fix the windows. The original cement had been patched over by a previous owner and water had got in underneath. The concrete had a hollow sound. Someone had also put a silicon between the wood and the cement, and the wood is starting to rot. Two of the window ledges the cement had actually started breaking away.
Unfortunately my hard work ended in disaster. Just as I finished the final coat of cement, IT RAINED. I think it was actually a cloud burst. It came down in buckets, and you can see the result in the last photos. The cement is pitted. And in some spots it has actually peeled back onto itself, and then set. So I will now have to get the angle grinder out and re apply that last coat. We need the rain, but a little consideration in it's timing would be great.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Altered vessel.

Here's a little vessel with a Tenmoku glaze and flashing on the foot from *bi carb soda.
It's altered as soon as it's thrown by running my right hand index finger up the inside.

* Don't use bicarb soda in an electric kiln. It's volatile and damages the elements.