Testimonial #64

Participants from U.S.A.
Program: 21-day Pottery Making in Seto – With Guidance
Start date: 23rd March 2024

We enjoyed learning and improving our pottery-making skills during our three week stay in Seto! Sensei is very knowledgeable about pottery making techniques, methods, and the history of pottery in the region and Japan; we were impressed by his abilities and knowledge.

This is not a typical workshop, instead we were given a series of demos spread out over the time we were there, and then left to work independently. There were some days where Sensei was in the studio with us, and available to answer questions, but more often, work was independent. We recommend making the most of the days where he is around the studio and not being shy to ask questions. He is willing to provide feedback on how you throw and trim if you ask for it, so be forthright if you are struggling with anything.

One thing we also did not expect was that we are not allowed to glaze our own pieces. We were taught how to do calligraphic painting with oxides, which was very interesting and something we had not done before. After you paint the oxides on your pieces though, the glazing is left to Sensei and his apprentices, who glazed our work very hurriedly.

There are caveats to Japanese-style pottery making, namely that the wheel turns clockwise, so not all the same principles apply (for example trimming or what hand to use for what). The emphasis of what we were shown was in throwing from a big hump while trying to reproduce the same piece over and over, which is not as simple as it may sound.

Overall, we are happy with the progress we achieved in our ceramic-making abilities, and are grateful to Sensei for allowing us to use his studio and learn from watching him work. We came away with many pieces that we are happy with, and for all, we are happy to now know how to reproduce the shape, even if the glazing didn’t turn out as expected.

Testimonial #64