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Japanese Making Process.
All our products are expertly crafted by artisans in Japan. A whole lot of love, skill and dedication goes into making our distinctive tableware. Curious how it's all made? Then you've come to the right place!
Japanese pottery is strongly linked to the area of its native resources, this not only includes the clay, but also the form of the product and the colours of the glaze. The majority of our products are sourced from small, family-run kilns in Gifu on the central island of Honshu, with the rest of our collections sourced from the length and breadth of Japan. The pottery cycle itself is a microcosm of man-nature-culture. From digging clay to forming into wares, glazing and firing and distributing them.
A brief introduction into the manufacturing process of Japanese tableware
First up, clay.
The base ingredient for Japanese ceramic tableware is, of course, clay. Gifu is home to a huge clay basin. Since the 7th century, the craftspeople of Gifu have been able to access this and forge on 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 moulds- which produces shapes such as squares and circles.
Sculpted by hand.
For detailed pieces, such as teapots, separate parts are sculpted by hand. Any moulds are then removed carefully and the clay pieces are set aside to dry. Once the clay bodies are dry, an experienced craftsperson will inspect the pieces and remove any unwanted imperfections.
Hand painted and glazed.
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 has been properly prepared, it is ready for the glazing process. Using tongs, the clay is lowered into the designated glaze, ensuring even coverage. Colour tones are created with various powder dyes, which have been developed and refined over the years.
Into the kiln.
Specific kilns are often renowned for their skill in producing unique or signature glazes. The glazed products 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 final finish.
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.