Ohi Pottery

Taking the Experiences in Japanese Culture was seriously the best choice I made. All of my best pictures/ experiences seem to come from this class,  which I guess is the point. So today was the first class of 2010 and we began our work on Ohi Pottery. Last class, which was in the end of December, we visited The Ohi Museum to learn the history of Ohi Pottery.

To briefly sum up the history: The Ohi family has been making pottery in Kanazawa since the very first generation came over in 1666. Since then, generations upon generations of Ohi pottery has been created by the Ohi family, and my class has been lucky enough to work with the 10th generation, a man known as Ohi Toshihiro. He makes both traditional pottery in the Ohi style as well as contemporary work, and he has traveled all over the world using his talents for university teaching, lectures, exhibitions, and contest judging, as well as being the esteemed winner of countless awards.

Traditional Ohi pottery is made very carefully, and in today’s class we learned this process. One must only use his or her hands and no tools to form and shape the bowl (our class specifically made Japanese tea bowls). Since we are going to meet in Toshihiro’s studio three more times to complete our bowls, today we only formed and shaped bowls.


Pupil and Toshihiro, demonstrating how to form the bowl.

Pupil and Toshihiro, demonstrating how to form the bowl.

I will admit that forming a fully-functioning bowl was not as easy as it looked. One of Toshihiro’s pupils demonstrated for the class first and we were to follow what he did. Toshihiro told us that explaining the process is not how one must learn, but watching and learning is the best way to learn. While we worked, he also made many bowls and if we were not sure about how to proceed we walked to his workstation and simply observed his techniques, then copied them on our work. It was an interesting way of learning compared to just listening to directions.

We were allowed to make 3 bowls, and even a fourth one if we really did not like any of the first three. The first bowl I made wasn’t that great, but I noticed that the more I did it the better I became. The second bowl was definitely an improvement. Here is a  pictures of the bowls I made:

Center three are my bowls.

The bowl on the bottom left was a freestyle bowl that we were allowed to design ourselves.

All of the bowls my class made.

There were so many!

Next week’s class we will carve the bowls using tools. More pictures to come soon!

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