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.
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.
It'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.