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thailand 2005

updated tue 30 aug 05


Louis Katz on sun 28 aug 05

Hello Clayart,

This December I will be leading a tour with Denys James, and Suwanee
Natewong to Thailand December 15. I am hoping to persuade a few of you
to come with me. I am excited about the tour. There should be new
places on it as well as the important ones I have visited before. We
are revamping the schedule to spend more time in Sukhothai, and some of
the more popular pottery sites.

We will be touring traditional Thai pottery villages and cities. In
these potteries wood is still the predominant fuel. We will also visit
a few other "craft" villages, including silk weaving, bronze casting,
and paper making locales. We also will visit Thai temples and a Ankor
temple, about 1000 years old and a few museums. On the list is a stop
at the new Ceramics Museum just north of Bangkok mentioned last spring
in Ceramics Monthly.

I have just returned from Thailand and part of my trip was spent
finding new places to go. Among these potteries is a cooking pot
village near Chiang Mai, and near it a small factory producing 70
gallon bottles for decorative purposes fired in a short tube kiln.

We are just finalizing some of the transportation details and schedule
and have to my delight secured a reservation at Suan Mae Sri in Korat.
The owner, Khun Piak, is a cement company owner, and has collected old
teak houses, refinished them and assembled them into a complex of guest
rooms. In the center of the complex is a room holding a large "museum"
of historic Southeast Asian pottery. It is a wonderful place to stay
while in Korat.

The tour leaves December 15 during the cool season, really the best
time to visit Thailand for pottery. It is cool enough to get around
comfortably The air is relatively clean after the smoke of the rice
field burnoffs and it is dry and cool. The agricultural slack season
potters are back to work by December although the more successful
villages are year round pottery producers.

Suwanee is an amazing personality. She is able to smooth over cultural
differences and makes the experience pleasurable. In the late 70's she
moved to Dankwean village and started a pottery company. She has
branched into tile making , mural carving and ceramic jewelry. She is
an innovator and is largely responsible for her village's success . She
has received multiple grants to come to the US as a visiting artist and
will spend part of this fall in Australia doing mural carving
demonstrations at a trade fair. I will let the list know if I find out
more details on this. She is an amazing artist, a successful business
women. She has turned down offers to become a TV personality, and a
nomination to a government office.

Our current plan for the trip includes the big temples in Bangkok, Koh
Kred Island Potteries and Museum, Ratchaburi (stoneware tube kilns)
Potteries, The ruins at Sukhothai and Kiri Maat pottery (bonfire
earthenware cooking pots and small figures), Baan Koh Noi in Sii
Satchanalai and its archaeological museum covering digs where 11
layers of kilns, one built on the ruins of the last have been
uncovered. In Chiang Mai, we will visit Doi Suthep, a gold covered
temple on a mountain. An incredible place, Baan Kuan a cooking pot
village, and Muang Kung which has bee described as Ceramic Oz. People
make pots on spindly banding wheels here although this is starting to
be supplanted by other methods.

Mahasarakham has many small potteries, and the one we are visiting
there is one of the more successful potteries. It mostly produces
earthen water coolers, although there is also a small amount of
sculpture and some ceramic hibachis mad there.
In Phimai we will visit the Ankor period ruins and museum and then
travel to Korat where we will visit Dankwean a village that fires
almost exclusively in anagama kilns. Near Dankwean is a silk weaving
village and a bronze foundry village. We are expecting to spend New
years in Bangkok and if it is half as fun as last time it will be the
second most enjoyable New years I have ever spent.

More information on the trip can be had in various ways. Liz Willoughby
was on the last trip. The tours main website is:

My information wiki for people going to Thailand is: (Case sensitive)

Some images of Thai potteries:

My videos on Thailand are available from the Archie Bray Foundation,
The Potter's Shop, and Axner Clay (my part of these sales goes to the
resident artist program at the Bray.
A well pictured article on Thai pots and most of the places we visit is
in the Sept 1991 Ceramics Monthly Magazine.

I feel so lucky to go on these trips. They are an incredible amalgam of
clay, food, people, and places.