China: World’s oldest pottery found in Chinese cave, Vancouver Sun– Ancient, ancient pottery fragments were found in northern Jiangxi Province, in Xianrendong Cave. “The fragments were believed to belong to a community of roving hunter-gatherers some 20,000 years ago and apparent scorch marks indicate they may have been used in cooking.” The geological period during that time is referred to as the Last Glacial Maximum. According to the BBC, the pottery had been used to cook food and possibly brew alcohol. Here is New York Times coverage.
United States: Starbucks order pumps up buzz for Ohio pottery town, TribLive News – This is a very big story, actually, in more ways than one. The famous Seattle-based coffee shops are switching to mugs made in the United States, in East Liverpool, Ohio. Instead of buying inexpensive mugs made in China, the company is willing to pay more for mugs made stateside, in attempt to bolster the economy of the area that was once “Pottery Capital of the USA.” There is a Buy America angle but, frankly, I think it is very good news… It means that a decision was made to no longer outsource or go for the lowest bidder. For the New York Times‘ take on the story, click here.
England: Potters, miners and steel workers wait on hearing damage payouts, This is Staffordshire – Potters are among industrial workers who may receive compensation for hearing loss because of noise levels in their current or previous workplaces. I found this interesting. Usually you hear of respiratory or lung ailments as hazards but I had never thought of hearing loss. “Last month ex-potter Adrian Ward, of Longton, achieved a landmark court victory after being awarded £3,000 in compensation following a successful five-year battle against the insurers of Longton-based John Tams Group PLC.” While that may not seem like much, it will go a long way toward paying for hearing aids. Workers can claim back as far as 1963.
United States: Exhibit tells history from New Mexico pueblos’ perspective, artdaily– This article is about an exhibition called “100 years of state & Federal Policy: the impact on Pueblo Nations.” The show is open through February 2013 at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It appears to be a well-funded presentation, too. “Photographs, letters, pottery and other crafts fill the space, while touch screens and QR codes link to more videos, audio interviews and documents.” Jane Street has two posts that are relevant. If you would like to watch a video about Acoma pottery, click here, and for an article, click here.
Egypt: Egypt’s biggest ceramics maker to shut factories: Statement, ahram online – Cleopatra Ceramics is going to close up shop, which means many people will be affected, as it has about 20,000 employees. According to its Egyptian owner, labor disputes are to blame. The company is “a major player in the Middle East ceramics industry which has been hit by a wave of labour unrest following Mubarak’s ouster in February 2011.” Other reasons or allegations have not been made public, and labor’s voice is not quoted in the article.
United States: Creative businesses find their niche on Etsy, Sun Sentinel – This article drew my attention because I am just about ready to open my own shop on Etsy. This story, in part, reports on potter Jacqueline Allard has sold her pottery through her Etsy shop for three years. “Etsy changed my life,” said Allard, whose shop, IslandGirlPottery.etsy.com has sold more than 1,100 unique pieces through her Etsy shop. “There came a time in my life when I wondered if I could make this work as a full-time job. There’s no doubt in my mind now.” Tim Adam, author of “Learn How To Make Money Using Etsy” and editor of the blog Handmadeology.com has more to say….”Etsy gives all these small, micro businesses a place to start.”