A brief introduction into the manufacture process of Japanese tableware
The base ingredient for Japanese ceramic tableware is, of course, clay. Within Gifu Prefecture on the main island of Honshu lies a huge clay basin. Since the 7th century, the craftspeople of this region have been fortunate to be able to access this resource and forge an industry that still thrives to this day.
In order to make the clay workable, industrial custom-made machines are used to knead the clay.
From there, the clay is used either on the potter’s wheel to form the base shape or injected into plaster molds - which is necessary to produce shapes such as squares and eclipses. For detailed pieces, such as teapots, separate parts are sculpted by hand. Any molds are then removed carefully and the clay bodies are set aside to dry. Once the clay bodies are dry enough, an experienced craftsperson inspects the pieces and removes any unwanted imperfections or burrs. If the clay body requires a motif or pattern, a skilled hand will either paint or carefully apply a transfer-sheet (a thin piece of damp paper with pattern).
After the clay body has been properly prepared, it is ready for the glazing process. Using tongs, the clay body is lowered into the designated glaze - ensuring an even coverage. Colour tones are created with various powder-dyes, developed and refined through past experimentation. Specific kilns are often renowned for their skill in producing unique or signature glazes. The glazed bodies are then shelved and loaded onto a cart to be wheeled into a kiln where the final ‘firing’ process occurs.
During firing, the kiln is heated slowly to the appropriate temperature and then just as slowly cooled again. The aim of this process is to heat the objects to the point where the clay and glazes properly marry and ‘mature’, i.e. reach their optimal level of melting in order to set. Only after the kiln has been properly cooled can it be opened. The cart is then unloaded to reveal the finished pieces.
Chefcourse s.r.o., is exclusive importer and distributor of handmade ceramics Made In Japan. Chefcourse has been importing tableware from Japan since 2016 in partnership with tableware importer and distributor MIJ who is importing tableware and ceramics to Australia from Japan for over 30 years already.
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