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Journey to the Borderland

May 18

Posted by Lindsey Whissel on 05/18 at 04:32 PM

Today I learned that ceramics are to Slavyansk what Steel was to Buffalo.

First stop of the day was a ceramics market. On the drive over, one of the Slavyansk Rotarians explained that the city used to support a booming ceramics industry, but it went into decline in the ‘80s (I think). Now, there are about 800 small businesses dedicated to ceramics, though most are 2-3 person operations; I think there are ten large companies.

After shopping at the market, we were taken on a tour of three different factories. The first two still seemed to rely largely on human labor while the third, Zeus Ceramics, had an impressive display of automated technology. At Zeus, we got to see the process of making tiles from start to finish.

We ended the day with a concert. The music was beautiful and combined an women’s A capella group with an orchestra of traditional Ukrainian instruments.

I mentioned I’ve gotten to spend some time talking with my host’s daughter, Vika, which has been nice. She’s about my age and speaks excellent English. In one of the discussions with her and her friends, they asked me if my family moved with me when I moved to Pennsylvania. I told them I moved by myself and they said it’s unusual for people in Ukraine to uproot for a job.

Word of the day: керамика (ker-am-ih-ka) - ceramics.

{name} Author: Lindsey Whissel
Bio: Lindsey Whissel earned her degree in cinema and digital arts from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. She has produced a variety of broadcast and non-broadcast media projects for television, radio, and the web.

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