Friday, October 8, 2010


In Japan it seems youngsters are exposed to clay and clay activities more than Americans. Of course when I was a child there were art classes and activities similar to parent child ones like this but it was not as prominent as it is here. Besides these activities the local elementary schools have clay clubs, similar to soccer or baseball clubs. They practice making clay things after school in a group and put their works on display in the school. Arai Sensei is the teacher for about 5 schools in the area. So he's responsible for going to, helping, carrying, firing and glazing about 150 kids pieces every few weeks or so. Besides the schools he is also hired for activities from private companies/people or organizations.

Even though it was the day of the noborigama my teacher was still a very busy guy. I was lucky enough to sign up during a time when he was scheduled for a workshop with local kids and their parents at the building next to Sara Yama Studio. He invited me as his assistant and of course I tagged along.
It was a group of about 30 elementary kids and their parents. The project of the day was to make a yunomi or Japanese style tea cup.
Here Arai Sensei is showing the group the easiest and correct way to make the cup.

Everyone was given a small chunk of clay which they then had to pound out flat. (No rollers or extra things, just more stuff to carry and clean after wards, the kids also liked pounding hehe)
After the clay was pounded out to about 5mm thick we used a butter knife and cut the pounded clay into a rectangle, make a cylinder shape and seal the two edges together with scoring and watery clay. We'd then make the circular base with the left over clay and attach it to the hollow cylinder form. Voila! A simple yunomi can be made!

It was great seeing parents and their kids absorbed in making something together. Here is a mother and son busy at work.

Space was limited but everyone seemed to have a good time!

The whole process only took about an hour but it was fun to help out and see little creative minds at work :)

Hope to see you again!

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