Phu Lang pottery adapts to modern times

15:55 | 27/05/2015 Industry

(VEN) - In 2014, revenue from pottery production in Phu Lang Commune (Que Vo District, Bac Ninh Province) reached VND50 billion. Although this may seem like a modest figure, the local pottery makers had to work incredibly hard to achieve it.

Phu Lang pottery adapts to modern times

Phu Lang Village had 230 pottery production households earning a combined revenue of about VND45-50 billion in 2014

The recovery of the pottery village

The golden age of Phu Lang pottery village was circa 1981. At that time, the number of pottery production kilns increased from 3 to 20 and the number of pottery production households also increased from 100 to 400, attracting many workers from adjacent regions.

However, the development of the pottery village did not last long due to stiff competition with other pottery products. Over time, the sales of Phu Lang pottery fell off as old patterns no longer met new tastes in the market.

Despite these difficulties, Phu Lang villagers’ enduring love and passion for this traditional craft has prompted them to adapt their trade to modern times. Nowadays, they not only produce traditional household items, they also make more modern items such as pottery pictures, jars, and fine art pottery products with innovative designs. In particular, the younger generations of the village have introduced new knowledge learnt from universities, and have infused the traditional pottery village with a fresh spirit. One such young man who brought new colors to the village was painter Vu Huu Nhung. He studied fine art and made a huge contribution to the persity of Phu Lang pottery.

Chairman of Phu Lang Commune People’s Committee Nguyen Tien Nen said in 2014 alone, Phu Lang Village had 230 pottery production households earning a combined revenue of about VND45-50 billion, accounting for 32 percent of the commune’s total revenue in the same year.

This positive result was attributed to the efficiency of industry promotion activities in Bac Ninh Province. The Bac Ninh Industry Promotion and Consultancy Development Center recently helped create a skillful and professional workforce. Consequently, local enterprises and production households have expanded their operation scales. The rural infrastructure and laborers’ lives have also gradually improved.

A lot of difficulties remain

Although Phu Lang pottery products were exported to foreign markets, they are not yet perse enough, and owing to their often rough state, their sales remain weak. In addition, low awareness in craft villages resulted in loose coordination in production and business activities of pottery products. The out-dated techniques and machinery in vocational training to improve skills for laborers was also a limiting factor.

Chairman of the Central Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Nguyen Thien Nhan said craft villages have shown some positive developments, but they are still facing many difficulties. The traditional craft villages are invaluable assets of the nation, but they are in danger of falling into oblivion, especially as Vietnam gears up for international economic integration. As such, timely support is required from relevant sectors and agencies along with efforts by local artisans and producers themselves. 

Two ceramic companies have been established in Phu Lang Commune, namely Nhung and Tri Viet. These ceramic companies represent around 20 fine art pottery production workshops. The commune also set up a Pottery Craft Village Association with representatives from over 30 households to preserve and develop the craft village in a sustainable manner.            

By Thanh Tam