Today is the day I will be able to make my own Japanese Teapot. My Tea Master and I are travelling to Pottery Town through the Japanese mountains. The original name of this town is not known to me, but all the locals refer to it as Pottery Town. When i enter the village, I see why it lives up to its’ name; literally everyone is a potter.
losing sense in my lower body
We have an appointment with a local business that has been producing the most beautiful teapots for multiple generations. The current owner and his son are waiting for us upon our arrival. He takes us to an old factory where I see no modern equipment. I walk inside and get put to work immediately. I sit on the floor (which still remains a challenge seeing as I start losing sense in my lower body). I see tiny clay pots drying all around me. Kinda like a maze. In front of me there’s a rotating disc, well I mean, I’ve gotta rotate it by hand. I get to choose a piece of clay, and after kneading I’ve gotta make a bottom part with a tiny piece of it. The potter looks at me patiently while I try to copy his movements perfectly.
Every tea pot and cup is made by hand. After shaping them, with different sorts of clay from different districts, it’s gotta dry for a month. After that it’s baked, painted and glazed to preference. Meanwhile I receive a lovely cup of tea from his wife and really good sweets (jelly-like cakes). Real good stuff. The bitterness of the green tea together with the soft and sweetness of the sweet makes a beautiful combination.
I continue making my own teapot. I’ve gotta stack small rectangular pieces of clay on top of each other, rotating and shaping in between each one. I do this until I have the perfect height for a teapot. Next, you smooth all edges down, and honestly, this is way harder than it sounds. You’ve gotta be real careful and use your fingers to smooth down the edges and make all the pieces stick together. When that’s done, on the in- and outside, you get to shape the teapot a bit more. This I get ahold of quickly, and the potter let’s me do it my way. I end up making two more following exactly these steps. It’s nice to see how you can make all this out of tiny pieces of clay. It just takes about 25 minutes and some dedication. The downside is that it all needs to dry, get painted and baked, which takes longer than the time I’m here for, so the potter promises to send over my exclusive teapots back home. It’ll take a while before I can enjoy a cuppa outta my limited edition pieces ;) I can order dishes here. And they’re all made just the way I like ‘em. Everything is made by hand, and you can order as many or less as you like. Nice.
made with love
I get a tour and spot the son making a mass production of milk jugs, all the same, all by hand. So interesting to see things like this. It requires a lot of precision though. I like the idea of developing a special tea pot, together with this man, and presenting this back home. This is how I end up finding my Direct Trade Potter. Never heard of it, well now you have, haha. Just before I leave he presses a small teapot in my hand. It’s the most beautiful teapot I’ve ever seen. And receiving such a nice gift makes it all worthwhile. A gift made with love, and given with just as much. This is what makes it all special.
This blog is about No.060 - Sencha Kyoto, No.070 - Kukicha and No.071 - Matcha