Traveling down the north of Japan, we are now in the Kyuushuu region in Arita, the town of ceramics known namely for their fine porcelain.
Since our knowledge of pottery needed some beefing up, we were sent back to school at Yodai, the college of ceramics.
This petite sensei was the epitome of kawaii! But once she started painting, she was super focused and precise, filling in the shapes whilst whispering “shhi shhi shhi” like she was coaxing the glaze into the right places.
We had an hour to practise our painting strokes as well. It is not at all like painting with a brush because the consistency of the glaze was slightly thick and required a lot of patience and several times the paint droplets decided to choose their own path and things went awry! It sure ain’t easy folks. Respect, respect.
Walking around the inner catacombs of the factory where trial pieces stack up on shelves, I feel slightly relieved to see that miles away in another country, even traditional craftsmen with decades of experience confront their messiness, failures hiccups as part of the process, not something to be kept away and hidden.
"Everything was created by the skilled hands of proficient artisans who inherited these traditional techniques. Our own glaze has been developed through countless trials. Our proficient artisans apply the paint individually to every piece. This creates a high-quality, deep radiance. The techniques of artisans bringing out the highest amounts of new charm produce ideal results brimming with gratitude and thoughtfulness."
The entire town is submerged in a love for ceramics, with street shops selling wares from different producers. Some taking a more traditional stance, others mixing it up with contemporary expressions. Love it!