The village of Bat Trang is also near Ha Noi, and here the main industry is ceramics. We visited a small factory that makes both production pieces, like beads and small vases, as well as large custom murals that might stretch to 20 feet wide. The workforce consists of a couple and their two sons. The first couple of pictures are the kiln and the propane tanks. The owner told us that as recently as a few years ago they were using a wood fired kiln, and it would get "Hotter than hell" inside the factory.Here you can see some of their production pieces. The woman is applying glaze before a second firing in the kiln.
The real magic happens on the second floor. Up here, the couple's older son is working on wall size ceramic murals. His dad told us he had studied art at a university, and he clearly has a gift for this work.
Here a completed mural has been cut into manageable pieces. Next they air dry, they're fired, the glaze is painted on, and they're fired again to set the glaze. These murals have been ordered by a hotel that's under construction.
This mural has been fired once and the glaze is next.
In the miscellaneous category, here are some random shots from around Ha Noi. One of the downtown streets is closed for pedestrians on Sunday evenings. Here some people have set up activities for the kids. Everywhere we went in Viet Nam, we were impressed at how well children were treated and cared for. Except maybe on motorbikes... We would often see whole families on a moped – Mom, Dad and two or three kids! Aslo, almost all kids are taken to school on the back of a moped.