- It’s easy enough, even for a beginner! Let’s drop by a pottery class while sightseeing in Kamakura.
- I’m going to make my bowl with inspiration obtained from sightseeing in Kamakura!
It’s easy enough, even for a beginner! Let’s drop by a pottery class while sightseeing in Kamakura.
Takara Pottery Studio is about a 10-minute walk from the west exit of Kitakamakura station. It’s located at ”Takara no niwa”, an old renovated Japanese house, just behind Jochi-ji Temple.
I’m going to take a class using the simplest plaster mold, even though there’s a class that offers a more contemporary approach, using an electric potter’s wheel.
I’m going to take my mind off my everyday busy life and enjoy pottery with a peaceful mind in a Zen-like state.
Please follow the side road from the Jochi-ji Temple gate to get to Takara Clay Studio.
This road is an upward slope and after walking a while, you’ll find a sign saying, “Takara no niwa on your right”.
Look at this beautiful place! Kitakamakura-like tranquility is in the air.
This is the working space. It’s a nice studio that makes you feel like you’re a professional potter.
I want to make a bowl that goes well with Tsukimi-dango (Dumplings for moon watching). They are dedicated to the moon during jugo-ya (August 15th on the old lunar calendar).
Will I be able to make such an elegant bowl?
I’m going to make my bowl with inspiration obtained from sightseeing in Kamakura!
First of all, start working clay. This work requires a lot of physical strength and you might get fatigued. After you work that clay, according to pottery teacher’s instructions, form it into a round shape like a dumpling.
You put it in the center of a plaster mold and evenly press it out, pressing it with a special tool. Please make sure to maintain an even thickness on the edges, much like the instructor does.
I somehow made it into a bowl-like shape.
Next, you go out into the courtyard and choose plants for the bowl’s decoration.
I realized how diverse my selection was. Should I choose one species, or I should use a couple and arrange them?
Is it better to put one big plant on the center of the bowl? Should it be arranged asymmetrically…? “
Pottery needs imagination and creativity, doesn’t it?
When you determine which is the best plant for the bowl’s decoration, press it onto the top using the tool. I used this plant to make a very simple design.
Brush the surface with white liquid clay.
After brushing, it should look like this.
Remove the plant from the bowl carefully.
Be careful not to distort it.
Finally, you complete your work by putting your name on the back of the bowl with a wooden spit!
After this, the teacher will fire it in a kiln and deliver it to you later.
I can’t wait!
If you want to make another piece in this class (Additional fee of 1000yen), you can try making a cup or a plate. There is also a course where you can make other items like a lovely pig and a mosquito coil holder.
There are also some teachers who speak English and Spanish, so it’s easy for foreign participants.
About a month later.
Ta-dah!! This is the finished bowl, delivered!
It is actually quite better than I expected. It seems to go well with Tsukimi-dango! I want to design one next time to include the brush marks.
I’ll likely get hooked on this pottery class.
Takara no niwa also has various other workshops for making traditional Japanese sweets and Shojin ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine).
For details, please visit their official web site.
【Articles relating Kamakura area】
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●The best sightseeing spot in Kamakura! “Tsurugaoka Hacimangu” is the shrine that represents Kamakura.
●Komachi-dori, the “Must Go” place in Kamakura. It’s a tourist mecca for eating and shopping, with over nineteen million people visiting each year.
1418 Yamanouchi Kamakura-city, Kanagawa prefecture (on “Takara no niwa” ground)