Iwami ware has long continued in the Iwami region of Shimane Prefecture, famed for the production of strong pottery. The soil of the region has excellent moisture resistance and salt resistance properties, making it suited to roof tiles, water jars, and pickling vessels.
Stoneware sculpture is produced by a lone craftsman over 70 years old, who manually performs every process from clay preparation to moulding and firing. Using unique Iwami ware techniques known as shinodzukuri or tamadzukuri, clay stretched into ropes is piled up in circles, which is then moulded on a rotating wheel using the entire body. This requires considerable physical strength and the master skills to form a shape at one go, without hesitation.
In the process of creating the product, we made on-the-spot decisions concerning the form while watching the wheel turn, based on simple sketches worked out with the craftsman without blueprints. The work of giving form to an image held in the head involved dialogs that took place only through the senses, not words.
This is a rare product that, through our encounter with a sole craftsman, achieves the one-of-a-kind expression and presence of a sculpture along with the production system of a product, coming together in what for us is a happy form of manufacturing.