Arita, Japan /
Arita was the first place to produce porcelain in Japan. The beginning of Arita ware took place in the early 17th century, during a seven years period of war with Korea. During this period, many lords returned home from the Korea peninsula bringing Korean potters with them.
In 1616, Ri Sampei, a Korean ceramicist, discovered deposits of white kaolin in Arita, at the Izumi mountain; from then on, the porcelain production began.
For over a century Arita ware was made by using Izumiyama clay, which has a specific identity, such as brown spots due to iron content; this made possible to distinguish Arita ware from other cities’ wares.
Today the Izumi mountain is a landmark and it remains just a company still producing the local Izumiyama clay.
The typical features of Izumiyama clay have never been appreciated, so potters, nowadays, use the Amakusa clay, a very plastic and white clay from Kumamoto prefecture that allows a fast and homogeneous production, clashing with the concept of handmade craft.
The Arita project researches the historical and no longer used Izumiyama clay to question the link between products and tradition, while exploring the relationship between craft and industrialization.
The specific and historical identity of the clay has been used to enhance the local know-how and cultural heritage of Arita potters, whereas its connection to the place has been strengthened by combining the Izumiyama clay with additions of waste materials, all belonging to the Izumiyama quarry and which are usually discarded during the manufacturing process of the clay.
The project was developed in collaboration with Yodai, Saga university and supported by The Embassy of The Netherlands.
Porcelain, waste materials