July 11, 2010

Shigaraki Pottery

While in Japan in April, we visited Shigaraki with Aya's family. One of Japan's six famous pottery towns, Shigaraki is renown for its local clay beds and traditional wood-fired kilns. Tea Masters in the ancient capital of Kyoto created a national demand for Shigaraki pottery with their appreciation of the local artisans' unique wabi-sabi style.

From Wikipedia:
"Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity, simplicity, modesty, intimacy, and the suggestion of natural processes."

Tim and Keith tried their hand at undoing a thousand years of national prestige.

A few weeks later those that survived the firing showed up in a package. They had been glazed by the shop workers according to our selections of colour and style. We bought some appropriate display props for the photo shoot.

Tim's tea cup is truly magnificent; balanced, attractive, light-weight yet substantial.

Here Keith tried to mimic a particular style. The walls ended up rather too thick, but the glaze helps its appearance.

Don't know what was going on here. The bottom shrank alarmingly. Cute, in a funny way.

This is more like it. Light and colourful, and a fingertip finds its way inevitably into the dimple. The shop worker applied the glaze very thoughtfully with a big drip down the inside, just opposite the dimple.
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