28 July, 2023
In 2018 we met a master potter named Sadaaki Kido. He waited for us at Kyoto Station wearing Crocs and a cap with "SYDNEY" blazed across it. Him and his sister, Keiko, drove us an hour or so into a little green town called Shigaraki, in the Shiga Prefecture. It was here we learnt all about Shino, a style of pottery dating back to the 16th century.
Sadaaki-san has been specialising in Shino for over 30 years, winning awards for his work along the way. He had built three wood-fire kilns in his backyard, which is the way this type of pottery is created.
Travelling to the Gifu prefecture to get the clay he uses in his work, Sadaaki-san makes each piece by hand. Once they are made, it's left to dry and then loaded into one of his wood fire kilns, which are ignited.
The kiln needs to remain at temperatures over 1000°C for at least 10 days. To ensure the temperature doesn’t drop, 8 hour shifts are taken (including overnight). It’s a slow process,one that takes patience and dedication. After the 10 days it’s often repeated all over again, depending on the finish and glaze of the ceramic pieces. The result is a unique crackling texture, full of intricate pockets and colours. This style of pottery is like nothing we have seen and the technique is incredibly rare and beautiful.