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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Yumachikama was situated right in front of the Tamatsukuri Onsen station. I only had 30 mins before catching the next train in order to get to Kyushu on the same day.  No time to waste, I run to the pottery as soon as I landed off the train. Apart from myself, there was a young couple who left quickly after looking around the shop, probably found nothing interesting for them. Then the shop was all mine. With such a concentration, I took a good look around the stack of wares piling up here and there to choose right wares to bring back to London.

Since the Edo period, the region was already famous for potteries with locally available clay and natural materials for glazing. Established in 1922, Yumachikama was originally making large pieces like hibachi, traditional Japanese heating pots.

Since Takashi Fukuma, the second generation of the pottery joined the Mingei folk arts movement in early Showa Period, the pottery started to make European style tablewares.

The iconic yellow glazing taken from local rocks made Bernard Leach especially interested as it reminded him the galena (the most common ore of lead) from home in the UK. He stayed with Fukuma family to produce some pieces and also taught Takashi the technique of slipware and how to put handles onto cups and jugs. These techniques are now passed onto Shuji Fukuma, the third generation of the family and to his son who will eventually be in charge of the pottery.

Since the potter was not there, I was not able to see the workshop, but his kind wife brought me a tasty cup of tea and a sweet served on beautiful plate of their work.

Amazing collection of potteries kept in the gallery space. There were many of Leach's work produced while his stay in 1934.

Amazing collection of potteries kept in the gallery space. There were many of Leach’s work produced while his stay.

Leach showing his technique in front of Yanagi and Takashi Fukuma in 1934 when he visited the pottery.

Leach showing his technique in front of Yanagi and Takashi Fukuma in 1934 when he visited the pottery.

Slipware Technique:  Before completely drying the layer of slurry glaze, draw freely using a dropper with another kind of glaze. (Photos taken from Muji caravan)

Slipware Technique: Before completely drying the layer of slurry glaze, draw freely using a dropper with another kind of glaze. (Photos taken from Muji caravan)

Along other potteries I brought back from the trip, Yumachikama’s pieces will be shown and sold at the “Souvenir Show” next week. Don’t miss the opportunity.

 
“Miyage 土産” ~Souvenir from Japan~
30.08 (Fri) – 01.09 (Sun) 
11:00 – 19:00 (Fri & Sat) / 12:00 – 17:00 (Sun)
 
Momosan Shop
15a Kingsland Road, London E2 8AA
momosanshop.com
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In my recent travel back in Japan, I visited potteries which are strongly connected to the great British potter Bernard Leach.

Shussai Pottery in Shimane prefecture was one of them. The pottery was established in 1947 by five young locals who were influenced by William Morris’s art and craft movement and Muneyoshi Yanagi’s Mingei folk art movement which saw beauty in ordinary objects for practical purposes. Through meeting the important figures in Mingei movement including  Yanagi, Leach, Kanjiro Kawai and Shoji Hamada, the Shussai pottery eventually established themselves producing utilitarian wares for everyday use.

Shussai1

With the recent increase in popularity of Mingei, the Shussai pottery is high in demand, having 11 potters turning wheels daily. Young apprentices from other cities come to join the co-operative team.

It was a beautiful sunny day I visited the Shussai Kiln. Sun-dried pieces are waiting to be fired.

It was a beautiful sunny day I visited the Shussai Kiln. Sun-dried pieces are waiting to be fired.

Noborigama, a wood firing climbing kiln, with 6 chambers gets used 3-4 times a year, produces 5000 pieces every time. Each chamber reach to 1260-1270℃ with supply of wood day and night continuously for two days.

Noborigama, a wood firing climbing kiln, with 6 chambers gets used 3-4 times a year, produces 5000 pieces every time. Each chamber reach to 1260-1270℃ with supply of wood day and night continuously for two days.

Shussai3

Some of the wares I have brought back from the visit will be shown in a “Souvenir Show” at the end of this month.