Monday, October 20, 2014

Bizen day 1

This weekend Jeff and I went off to Bizen for the Pottery Festival.  Bizen is famous for its unique pottery.  It is typically unglazed and the coloring of the pottery comes from the materials around the pots when they are fired such as straw and when ash touches the pottery as it is fired.  The clay has a high iron content and is slow fired.  The result is very strong pottery with a surprisingly diverse color pallet.  For more info you can Google Bizen pottery or here is a link with some basic info.

I love pottery so this sounded awesome to me.  When we got to Bizen I was completely amazed at the number of potters displaying their wares, the number of people that showed up for the pottery festival and the beauty and diversity in the pottery.  The town of Bizen itself was completely adorable.  It had a little river running through town with benches along it and little bridges.

A quiet place to take a break from the festival
I was amazed at the number of vendors that spoke some English.  Everyone was super polite.  I bought a sugar bowl from a woman who is a 9th generation potter.  They had a beautiful garden behind their shop and offered us tea and coffee.

I am always amazed at the beautiful presentation of food in Japan.  There are beautiful fresh cut flowers and a tiny sweet for each of us with our complimentary cup of tea and coffee.

Pottery displayed at shop.
We walked around all day and really enjoyed the festival.  Even without the festival, there are pottery shops every 2 doors throughout the town.  You can see the smaller kilns in town and there are enormous kilns on the out side of town that the only fire a couple of times a year.

Here is one of the smaller kilns.  It has some pottery loaded in it already.
Pottery being displayed on the outside of a small kiln.
This small grouping of pottery shows some of the diversity in color and texture from the firing process.
It was a great day.  I hope to take another trip to Bizen with visitors.  We stayed that night in nearby Okayama since hotels in Bizen were booked.  I'll admit it, I dreamed I was a potter that night.

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