Meet the makers: our Earthenware artisans in Bat Trang, Vietnam
A family business
The owner of our earthenware factory was born in Bat Trang village, the youngest daughter of the 15th generation of a pottery-producing family. As a schoolgirl she often helped her parents with their business. After finishing high school she decided to make pottery her life.
A display in the new ceramics museum in Bat Trang
She started her career working for a state-owned company. Some years later, as the new wave of economic thinking, Doi Moi began to change Vietnam, she established her own company in Bat Trang. She started modestly, working long hours and doing her share of the hard labour, like mixing the heavy clay with her bare feet.
Today her hard work and astute business vision has become her success. She now runs not one but two factories, one in her native village, Bat Trang and one in HaLong City, Quang Ninh Province. When we visit the bustling province in Hanoi where the factory is situated, there is always a barking dog, a strong Vietnamese coffee and peeled Pomelo waiting for us to review our new design samples. Sometimes there is a delivery on the narrow street outside the showroom, sometimes a full-on parade with hundreds of people. The energy, the heat, the excitement of the day and seeing our products, it's an intoxicating experience for the senses.
Finding a food-safe earthenware maker
We have been wanting to work with a maker to do hand painting on food-safe clay. So we went on the hunt to find artisans with incredible skills with this unique material to complement our ceramic designs. One factory — run by a brother and sister in Hanoi, Vietnam — was the perfect fit for us from the start. Our visits with them are always a crazy cataclysmic riot of dogs barking, noisy street traffic, usually a street parade outside the door, peeled pomelo (our favourite factory snack) coupled with expressive gesticulations overcoming language barriers and everyone crowding on the floor to view our new range samples. It’s absolute heaven.
The two Jen's hanging out in Bat Trang