Made by Hand: II

Following on from my assignment 3 post, a new information has come to my attention. In the last post I was discussing the idea of goods made by hand are perceived as higher quality in Western culture. While in China, where the majority of goods are made by hand, they are commonly thought of as poor quality items.

This has been a recent surge in bringing the manufacturing of our own goods, which have been moved to China, home. Here are a couple of examples.

Hiut Denim are a new business backed up by a remarkable amount of experience – a whole town in fact. When the jeans factory in Cardigan (Wales) closed down, its workers spanned over three decades of expertise. These were and are real, honest, crafts people and Hiut has reemployed them to do what they do best.
Cardigan is a small town of 4,000 good people. 400 of them used to make jeans. They made 35,000 pairs a week. For three decades.
Then one day the factory closed. It left town. But all that skill and knowhow remained. Without any way of showing the world what they could do.
That’s why we have started The Hiut Denim Company. To bring manufacturing back home. To use all that skill on our doorstep. And to breathe new life into our town. – hiutdenim.co.uk

Channel 4 have also been looking into bringing manufacturing back to Britian. Mary Portas, they ruiner of charity shops, has a new series coming up which looks into getting unemployed people in Britain back to work in the manufacturing business.

In the middle of the worst recession since the war, retail guru Mary Portas believes a a window of opportunity has opened to restore some life back to British manufacturing.

Transport costs and foreign labour costs are rising, so Mary’s heading to Middleton, Greater Manchester, to set up a new production line for British-made knickers.

Mary wants consumers to understand the value of buying British: skills, UK jobs, pride in our manufacturing heritage.

 

 

It will be a challenge for Mary, who normally frequents an altogether different shop-floor. She not only needs to breathe life back into a mothballed factory, she has to persuade the old seamstresses to teach the new recruits, and track down some of the last fabric suppliers in the country.

Will she pull it off, or will her first ever foray into manufacturing be simply a brief encounter? – Channel 4

Gok Wan: Made in China – Channel 4

Gok Wan

New series starting on 7 March on Channel 4:

Gok Wan is travelling back to his ancestral home to explore the largely unseen world of Chinese mass production, and meet the people working in the factories that supply the West.

China is a manufacturing colossus and Britons are surrounded by products “Made in China” every day – from cotton bed sheets to toothbrushes, mobile phones and even London black cabs. The Chinese manage to produce goods cheaply yet they are well made – how are they able to manufacture such enormous volumes of products the UK is now so dependent on?

Gok heads to China to find out more about the people and places behind those three little words “Made in China”. His journey is both personal, as he visits the village his father grew up in for the first time, and a journey of discovery into how the country now produces one in every four man-made objects on the planet.

He visits Xintang, also known as ‘Jeans Town’, an entire town dedicated to making 260 million pairs of jeans every year; ‘Bra Town’ where millions of bras up to 52DD size are churned out for women in Britain and the rest of the world; and he makes a trip to the factory that now makes that most iconic of British products – the London Taxi.

Gok also discovers the surreal side of China’s obsession with copying, with a trip to Thames Town, a perfect replica of an entire English market town complete with its own Oxford Street, Georgian terraces and village green. His journey ends in the ultra-modern city of Shanghai where he meets a stylist pushing the boundaries in Chinese fashion.

(Thanks to Kate Pickering for the tip

Paper Making in China Today

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Paper making in China today

If the video above does not play, click the link to watch a 12 minute documentary about paper making in China today using the thousands years old technique. It’s in Chinese, but you should be able to follow it from the visuals alone.

82 years old Ma Jiucheng demonstrates how paper was made from scratch.

The tree barks which are only available in certain season have to be soaked in water, washed, cooked, hammered, grained, squeezed and cut into small pieces by a huge knife in order to make fine bulks to make paper. there are more than 70 processes involved and the result is a kind thin but strong paper used for ink painting and calligraphy.

At the end of the show, the man was asked if he is angry about the fact that no young people want to stay in the village to learn and inherit this ancient craft. he answered: “Not at all, It is hard to live on this, they have their choices, I, however, will carry on.”

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The Warriors of Qiugang

In 2004, in the village of Qiugang, in Anhui Province, China, private chemical companies took over an old state-owned enterprise that had long produced pesticides and dyes. As production ramped up, black waters disgorged from the plants and flooded the fields of Qiugang. Fish died, crops failed, and villagers grew alarmed by the large numbers of their own succumbing to cancer. When his own fields could no longer be farmed, a farmer named Zhang Gongli filed and lost a lawsuit against the factory that adjoined his land.