Nov 1, 2012

Hycroft China Factory Interior: Part 1

Of all the locations I've photographed for my Around the Hat photo series, the inside of the former Hycroft China Factory is one that really stands out. Back in May I photographed the exterior of this Medicine Hat landmark, and was teased by what I could vaguely see through some of the windows. What began as Medicine Hat Potteries in 1937 became Hycroft in 1957, and the factory continued manufacturing dishware and sanitary ware (toilets) until closing in 1989. Inside Hycroft today, the history of what went on here is still very apparent.

hycroft china factory pottery medicine hat alberta
hycroft china factory pottery medicine hat alberta







Boxes of undecorated dishes and cups are stacked everywhere. Slip casts and old molds for toilet bowls and mugs are also plentiful. There are remnants of the former museum displays still around from when the factory became a tourist attraction with the Great Wall of China (literally a wall of Hycroft China) in the 1990s. Clues from the artist's in residence are also still hanging around, although the program has since moved to the new facilities that came with the renovation of Medalta Potteries down the road.


hycroft china factory pottery medicine hat alberta

The Hycroft Factory has been closed to the public for some time now, and what remains is a very dense, visual, and rustic space. Unlike the recently closed Brick and Tile plant that I photographed in the summer, Hycroft feels more intimate and personal. The scale of the Brick and Tile plant made it very industrial looking, whereas inside Hycroft you get more a sense of the individual work stations that made the operation happen.

From small details like time cards still in place, calendar pages from the 1980s at work stations, or the handwritten labels stapled on crates, you can still see the human element behind the china that was produced here. I spent more time filtering and playing with textures on these images than on any of the others I've shot for this series, because I wanted them to reflect more of the character that the location exudes when you're standing in the middle of it.  



hycroft china factory pottery medicine hat albertaIt's easy to make this place look dingy and cold, but that's not the impression I got during my visit. Behind foggy panes of glass, inside musty cardboard boxes, and among the countless silent machines that dominate this abandoned factory, it's clear that there is still an amazing amount of history echoing between these walls. Thankfully, the Friends of Medalta are preserving this space and its contents, however the future uses for the factory remain unclear at this time.

Explore more of this series in PART 2 and PART 3.

hycroft china factory pottery medicine hat alberta



hycroft china factory pottery medicine hat alberta






hycroft china factory pottery medicine hat alberta






hycroft china factory pottery medicine hat alberta




hycroft china factory pottery medicine hat alberta




hycroft china factory pottery medicine hat alberta


hycroft china factory pottery medicine hat alberta


hycroft china factory pottery medicine hat alberta


hycroft china factory pottery medicine hat alberta






hycroft china factory pottery medicine hat alberta



hycroft china factory pottery medicine hat alberta




1 comment :

Vi said...

This is absolutely phenomenal. I was through there may years ago. What memories. It will be interesting to see what they can make of it.
Vi. Rieger