tobe yaki

Then I moved out of Kyushu to the next island, Shikoku.
Tobe is another porcelain production area and half-hour-bus-journey away from the centre of Matsuyama, Ehime. 
Tobe yaki had been making potteries but started porcelain in the late 18th. It started as byproduct of the whetstone but when they found quality clay it became the local industry. They started Kurawanka and have been producing tableware for the daily use. When Soetsu Yanagi, Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada visited Tobe in the 1950s, their design was refined keeping the feel of folk craft. That is now known as Tobe's identity.
Tobe yaki came to London 3 years ago and had an exhibition organised by somebody in the British Museum (I think..), and some London potters were invited too to their party at Japanese embassy. Then we were given nice lecture and a soba noodle cup as souvenir! Since then I wanted to visit where it's made and say "thank you".
The cup was made in the biggest factory in the town Baizan gama. Their factory was nearly at the top of the hill. They have a small museum and a shop on the premise. They also let us go into the factory to see the craftsmen's skill. So here are some pictures.:
(The picture on the top) Some are made with jigger and jolly.
Some are thrown.
Some are slip-cast.
 The cup gets handles in an amazing speed.
Bisqueware painted with gosu colour...
gets evenly covered with transparent glaze,... (The timing and the smooth movement is crucial.) 
 and gets the glazed surface smoothed and the bottom cleaned...
and gets jam packed and goes into the firing.
There was painting studio upstairs but no enter was allowed. All the process is divided by the tasks clearly and the each craftsman was getting their job done very smoothly. It sounds like a factory but it's got nice calming atmosphere like their pots.
There are a lot more smaller potteries in Tobe and I visited a few more but started feeling like disturbing their job so I came down the hill to see town and more.. (in another post!)



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