Welcome to the web site of The Mashiko Tourist Association!
Mashiko’s main industry, pottery, attracts over two million visitors every year.
There are as many as 350 potteries and about 50 ceramic shops.
We are very pleased to introduce the fantastic works of various potters, who try to exert their individuality and uniqueness through their works, in this site.
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益子焼TOP

Process of MASHIKOYAKI

 
1
The best clay for making pottery should be reasonably plastic, not too hard nor too delicate, to prevent cracking during drying and warping in firing.

2
fter the clay is dug from the mountain, it is dried and broken up into small pieces, then mixed with water in tanks and stirred in order to remove dust and sand. Then the watery clay is transferred to the different tanks to obtain proper working consistency by precipitation. Then it is dried and is ready to use.

3
Before being used, clay must be wedged by hand, by machine or both to get rid of air and dust. Properly kneaded clay makes throwing easier.

 
4
In Mashiko, potters in general use wheels: hand-, kick-, and electric wheels. Hand-wheels are rarely used today. Plaster moulds are also used for some shapes. Finished pieces are dried, and are then ready for bisque firing.

5
Bisque firing is a low-temperature preliminary firing process. Depending on the type of clay being fired, temperature can range between 600 and 800 degrees centigrade. Biscuit firing makes it easier to apply glaze and improve the adhesion of color pigments during the main firing.

Pigments used in decorating stoneware include iron, copper, manganese, cobalt and chromium oxide which cause chemical change in glazes at high temperatures, to give the glazes their color.

 
7
Decorated and glazed pieces can be fired in a traditional Japanese climbing kilns (noborigama). Gas and electric kilns are also used today. 
The pottery is fired to a very high temperature (1,200 to 1,300 degrees centigrade).

 
8
When firing is complete, about two days are necessary to cool the kiln. Pieces are then removed. This is the most exciting moment of pottery making.