Monday, November 30, 2009

John Dix Kiln

Japan is known worldwide for its fantastic pottery. Hence the reason why I brought my dining room hutch empty when we moved here. Each region of Japan is known for a particular type of pottery, such as earthenware, stoneware, glazed pottery, glazed stoneware, porcelain, blue-and-white ware, and enamelware. You can buy generic pottery at almost any store for very pretty cheap or you can go to a specific region and buy a more "homemade" piece, which can run you anywhere from $100 all the way to $2000 and above.

Today I went on a day trip with CHIC to John Dix's kiln, a little over an hour outside of Kobe. It was a beautiful drive out into the countryside.

John Dix is an American from Michigan who studied with potters in the United States, Greece, and Israel before coming to Japan 20 year ago. His work is beautiful, drawing from his different experiences.

His studio and kiln are tucked away in a wooded little corner next to an old, small shrine.

All around the grounds were different pieces that he has done, from platters and mugs to vases and bowls.

John gets his clay from Shigaraki, which is known as being one of the oldest regions for pottery in Japan. Then what makes his "firing" unique from other types is that it is all done in a wood burning kiln. He "fires" two to three times a year, depending on his needs. Firing takes about five to six days, and approximately 400 pieces are fired each time. The "firing" process as he explained it, is pretty amazing. He is set to fire between December 26 and December 31 and I would LOVE to go see it in person.

We stopped the tour for a lunch break, which we ate in a tatami room up above his studio.

After lunch we were given a chance to see some of the pottery set to be fired later this month, as well as watch John "throw" a few pieces.
I had been eyeing this one particular one bowl from the moment I saw it. It took me all day to decide, but in the end I just had to have it. This is huge for me as I am very indecisive and until now just haven't found exactly what I was wanting. The top is oval shaped instead of round and it will be perfect for salads or dips. I just love the earthy brown colors. (The picture really doesn't do it justice)

In the car ride home, I had to chuckle with everyone about my first "real" piece of pottery from Japan being made by an American from Michigan. Who would have thought...


Carey said...

Its pretty, and youll always have a story to go with it.

Terri said...

a Michigander! sounds like an adventurous soul or someone who just loved Japan eh?

While it's pretty and functional, I'm hoping it's not one that falls in the $1000 range! Especially if it'll be used by the family. Accidents do happen...or is that just my family? :o)

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