While I was recently in Japan I had the privilege of meeting a very special potter and his family in Shiga. Located about an hours drive from Kyoto, Shiga is a small town full of trees, open land and quite a few home built kilns we found out.
On a sunny Thursday morning Keiko and Sadaaki picked me up from Kyoto Station. Wearing a cap, embroidered with the word SYDNEY across it, I had an immediate feeling of welcomeness. The three of us shared a meal of eel and tempura vegetables before embarking on a drive their home.
Upon arriving, four doggies were waiting on the driveway for us, including a friendly Golden Retriever named Lucky and a Shiba Inu called Shino. Not long after I realised Shino was actually named after the style of pottery Sadaaki specialised in.
Usually a stoneware that emerged in the 16th century, the use of shino is identified by thick white glazes, red scorch marks, and a texture of small holes. Sadaaki has been specialising in this style for more than 30 years and with three homebuilt wooden kilns in his backyard and two electric ones down the street, the amount of beautiful pieces he produces was incredible.
Once he makes each piece by hand, Sadaaki loads up the wood kilns and then for 10 days they are fired. Someone has to keep watch over an eight shift at a time to ensure the temperature doesn't drop.
Once fired, a unique and intricate product is complete.
After sharing a coffee with Keiko and Sadaaki in his studio, they were kind enough so show me around the land, where another little ceramic studio held two electric kilns.
Keiko and Sadaaki then dropped me back at Kyoto station with a bag full of ceramic goodies and lots of inspiration. It's safe to say this was one of the most amazing experiences I have had for Provider to date. Such a rare and amazing memory I will hold for a long time.