Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Two and a half hours north of Kochi City and then a short train ride to the east is a place where stacks upon stacks of cut and dried pine litter the streets. A place where back alleis were cobbled with the old broken bits of pottery deemed unfit for sale. Where every storefront, every window has vestles painted with flame and ash, and ever third home sprouts a 5 story chimney from a kiln shed that's taken root just behind a home. They've been digging and firing clay from the green hilsides here since the Heian period (794). The peices unearthed from the large anagama kilns are known for their red and brown shades. This little slice of pottery nerd heaven is called Bizen, and it's Japan's oldest midevil pottery town.  

Last weekend I went with Steph and a fellow pottery enthusiast named Mitch to visit this mythical place of pottery power. Due to time constraints we were only able to spend one day exporing this little hot bed of ceramics goodness, but it left a lasting impresion on me. Every corner, every wall, every store front, and even the local temple were covered in tiny hand made ceramics details.
A ceramic face  peeks out from  an overgrown wall.

The wall to the local shrine had a tile from every potter that lived in the town.

One of the many many kilns we saw just awaiting use in someone's back yard.
To walk through these streets, see the galleries (esspecially the huge one in the train station), and just be surounded by a place absolutely soaked in ceramics was such a wonderful expereince. I day dreamed as we walked, talking about the endless potential for growth I saw in a place like this, so much so that I had to be reminded of the endless potential for growth I have at my finger tips here in the ceramics studio in susaki.

Oh those Bizen colors.

We even managed to get a small hand building lesson.

I've read that it's very difficult to study in Bizen, and truly I am a full time teacher who only has time for a hobby in ceramics at the moment, but a boy's got to dream doesn't he! Our exploratiosn of the pottery center left me hungry for more, and itching to get back in the studio. I managed to sneak in enough time yesterday to build several lovely little bowls, and have plans to dash down just now and squeeze in another hour or so. Go out and find your equivilent of a pottery village! Persue what speaks to you in any way possible, and get hungry for it. little trips like last weekends help remind me why I've such a hunger for ceramics!

Thanks for reading! See you again soon.

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