Aiming for beloved vessels Shodai Ware -Ojiro Honya Chihiro Kiln-

Shodai-yaki is a type of pottery produced in the northern part of Kumamoto Prefecture, around Mt. It has a long history of over 400 years, said to date back to the Keicho era (Azuchi-Momoyama period). In 2003, it was designated as a national traditional craft.

Ojiro Honya Chihiro Kiln, the maker of Shodai ware that we have decided to handle in our store, is one of 11 Shodai ware potteries in Kumamoto Prefecture. We visited the workshop in Arao City, Kumamoto Prefecture and listened to the story.

Shodai ware Chihiro kiln studio visit

Chihiro Kiln was built in 1998 by Tomohiro Maeno, who was born in Arao, Kumamoto Prefecture and raised in Omuta, Fukuoka Prefecture. Mr. Maeno worked for a company until he was 28 years old, but since it was a pottery production area, he had the opportunity to talk with the artist, and he himself followed the path of a creator. After training at the Ojiro Mizuho kiln, he mastered the technique at the Yomitanyama kiln in Okinawa.

The pottery culture of Ryukyu has developed uniquely under the influence of neighboring countries such as China, Korea, and Vietnam since the Great Trade era. It seems that he was able to learn a lot from the rich variety of pottery techniques. And another wonderful meeting with the wife who worked at the Yomitanyamayaki joint shop. Chihiro Kiln is run by his wife, who is originally from Okinawa, and recently his son.

Inside the Chihiro Kiln workshop
Chihiro kiln studio tour of Shodai ware

The guardian deity of Okinawa also watches over the work of handwork every day.
Chihiro Kiln store visit

Shodai ware uses Shodai clay that can be obtained at the foot of Mt. Kodai. Since the soil contains a lot of iron and has many pebbles, it can be fired at high temperatures. Since it is fired in the same way as porcelain, it is said to be relatively hard as a pottery.

“I get some straw from the farmers to make the glaze called Warajiro-yu, and I make pottery while preserving traditional methods as much as possible,” says Mr. Maeno.

Glaze is one of the characteristics of Shodai ware. By using straw ash, wood ash, feldspar, etc. as a glaze, a vessel with a rich expression of opacity and crystals is created. Depending on the color, it is called blue small, yellow small, and white small.

Chihiro kiln mail order

The standard color of Chihiro Kiln is a soothing unbleached color. I feel nostalgic somewhere in the classic atmosphere.

Chihiro Kiln

"Nagashikake" is a representative technique of Shodai ware. By applying the glaze to the base fabric and then applying the glaze from above, you will be fascinated by the beauty that nature creates only at that moment, depending on the degree of application of the two glazes and the temperature of the kiln.

Chihiro Kiln

Shodai ware is basically fired by reduction firing. It is a method of baking in which the inside of the kiln is deprived of oxygen, and it is a baking method that makes it easy for kiln transformation (change in the work in the kiln). Even if you use the same clay and glaze, the color will change depending on the degree of reduction, the position in the kiln, and the temperature. As with all pottery, once it is put into the kiln, it is no longer human. I can't help but feel something mysterious. If you think so, the work is truly a once-in-a-lifetime encounter.

Chihiro Kiln
Chihiro kiln oval plate

By the way, the kiln is handmade by Mr. Maeno.

Chihiro Kama's kiln visit

It seems that his previous job as a company employee was related to kilns, and he knew the structure, so he made it. (And you said it lightly, but... it's amazing, isn't it?)

While using the style and techniques learned in Okinawa, I tried to create a style that is suitable for modern times while preserving the tradition of Shodai ware, such as being conscious of slightly whiter and brighter colors than the original Shodai ware. I'm here. Above all, we aim to create a vessel that is loved by its users.

“When I had the opportunity to hold an exhibition, I changed the pronunciation of my last name, Tomohiro, and changed it to ``Chihiro Kiln'', which I still use today
. Mr. Tomohiro and his very bright wife. The heartwarming atmosphere of the two of you warmed my heart, and I was really impressed.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to take this time!
I look forward to your wonderful works in the future .

Click here for works handled by Chihiro Kiln
List of works handled by Chihiro Kiln

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