I had the pleasure to assist to a presentation about Tamba (Tanba) Pottery followed by a throwing demonstration by visiting Potter Takeshi Shimizu.
Here are a few things he mentioned that I found interesting:
- He found our commercial raku clay to be very hard to wedge as it was soft in the middle and hard on the outside. Mind you he wedged a whole bag at once and said he’s used to bigger than that but softer;
- He can throw about 150-200 yunomi (simple mugs) a day…;
- I was surprised to learn that Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada went to his village and together with Muneyoshi Yanagi (Japanese philosopher and founder of the mingei (folk craft) movement in Japan in the late 1920s and 1930s) they had a direct influence on the revival of Tamba ware as it had fallen pray to mass production;
- In Japan, potters pray to a “god for pottery” so pots fire well. While it does not have a name but once thing he knows to be certain is that it is a female god; :0
- He made some of his tools;
- Shimizu has 4 kilns and it includes electric, gaz and wood/salt kilns.
Some characteristics of Tamba Pottery:
- putting the glaze on the shoulder of the pots;
- wood firing;
- cat-scratch-like marks on the ware
Quotes by Muneyoshi Yanagi:
“The beauty in utility”, “The beauty beyond human art”
He gave a new identity to Tanba ware from “Works created by human” to “Works created by nature” referring to the unknown in the firing process.
Click the following link for more information on Tamba Pottery.