This special Saké cup was made by Sadaaki Kido who has been specialising in Shino Pottery for over 30 years. Winning many awards for his work, Sadaaki Kido makes each cup by hand and then fires for at least 10 days straight in his wood fire kilns.
We met Sadaaki-san a few years ago in Japan. After arriving at Kyoto Station on a sunny autumn morning, we were greeted by Sadaaki-san wearing a cap embroidered with "SYDNEY" on the front and his lovely sister, Keiko-san.
We drove an hour or so to their home in Shigaraki, in the Shiga prefecture – full of lush greenery and open fields. Saadaki-san showed us the three wood fire kilns he had built by hand in his backyard, as well as his workshop full to the brim with a very interesting type of pottery that we weren't familiar with. This was our first introduction to Shino.
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-san has been specialising in this style for more than 30 years winning many awards for his work. He travels to the Gifu prefecture to get his speciality clay and then makes each piece by hand. Once each piece is 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, the shifts are split into 8 hour slots (including overnight). It's a slow system, 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 glaze, full of intricate pockets, colours and textures. This style of pottery is like nothing we have seen and the technique is incredibly rare and beautiful.