Facing the earth of Tobe - Satsukigama

The expression of porcelain clay is so rich... When I look at Satsukigama's pottery, various emotions well up and I am touched. I think it's because of the strength of the clay, the fresh sensibility of the maker, the warmth that can only be achieved by hand, and the many processes that lead to it, all of which are condensed into the pottery.

Satsukigama is run by husband and wife Nakata Taro and Chiharu, and is located in Tobe, Ehime Prefecture, the birthplace of Tobe ware, a type of pottery with a history of approximately 240 years.

After studying in Arita and Tobe, they both worked at Nakata Kiln, which was also Taro's father's kiln. They became independent in 2017. "Satsukigama" was named after the fact that it opened in May and the number 5 has been associated with many turning points.

"It's been seven years since I went independent. As I make pottery in Tobe, I want to really focus on Tobe's porcelain clay and create my works." As he says, Satsukigama's highly original works are created through trial and error, as they seriously consider how to utilize and express Tobe's clay. Using four types of porcelain clay - white clay, rough clay, red Tobe clay, and ordinary clay - the couple agonize daily as they create their pottery, cherishing the atmosphere that can only be created with these clays.

This piece is made using red clay. Red clay is made from iron-rich pottery stones that were removed to make white porcelain clay, so the finished product is dark and has a completely different appearance from regular porcelain clay.

It all started when the miners suggested that they use things that had never been used for pottery as soil. It's not hard to imagine the difficulties involved in using things that had never been used before. These wonderful pieces were the result of repeated trial and error. I can't help but feel grateful that they were born!

Formation Using potter's wheel, Tatara, and mold making, etc. The fish parts of the bear are carved from white paint, so the color of the red clay is visible, and it resonates with the calm color of the glaze, creating an exquisite atmosphere.

She is sometimes inspired by ancient patterns and tiles from overseas when creating her works.

Satsukigama's products have a ceramic-like feel, but because they are porcelain, they do not absorb moisture and do not need to be sealed. They can also be used in the microwave. However, they advised us to avoid rapid heating and cooling. For example, avoid placing them in a cold sink immediately after taking them out of the microwave.

Satsukigama is exploring the possibilities of Tobe clay and working sincerely on creating their works. I'm sure they will continue to create pottery that delights us. I can't wait to see what the future holds.

Click here for works handled by Satsukigama

Back to blog