Yui’s Pottery Project “Workshop 5, Party!”

On Oct. 11, Sunday, the 5th workshop was held.
Last time, the glaze was applied and the glost firing was carried out. Seeing the finished vessels, we heard people saying, “So this is how it has turned out!” and “Looking good!” Depending on how the glaze was applied, it was interesting to see how different the finished products were even though the same glaze was used.
The party menu consisted of curry rice, salad and fruit salad with shiratama (rice-flour dumplings). With the help of the participants who came in early to help, the preparation of the meal went very smoothly. When the food was served on the dishes that were self-made, it looked very special.
For those living in Namiki and could not come to the party, a live video was set up, and we said “Itadakimasu (an expression of gratitude before eating)” together. A meal eaten together with a large group is very good, the conversation was lively and we all had a great time.
This year’s workshop, totaling 5 sessions, is now over.
We feel that, this year, interaction among the participants took place particularly well and new networks were developed through the pottery experience. We believe that the heart and soul of the creators are embodied in every single vessel created. It would be our pleasure if every time they use the dishes people would remember the workshop and the network of people they had met. We would like to thank everyone who participated! Now, it is time for us to summarize our work this year and start thinking of a plan for next year. For those of you who would like to participate next year, please check the updates of our YUI Facebook page!
※ You can visit our page by clicking the Yui Team banner on the left of the screen.
(Miyake, 4th Year at School of Art & Design)






Yui’s Pottery Project “Workshop 4”

On Oct. 4, Sunday, one week after the 3rd workshop, the 4th workshop was held.
At the workshop this time, the final process was carried out for the completion of the vessels. The vessels prepared at the last workshop went through a biscuit firing and then the glaze was applied. Two kinds of glazes, “transparent (clear and smooth texture) glaze” and “Momi (rice husk) ash glaze (slightly rough texture)”, were used.
The applying of the glaze is a one-shot-only thing. The participants, with the finished images in mind, took on the challenge looking very serious. It might not be easy to see the outcome just by applying the glaze, but just wait till they come out of the glost firing!
With high expectations, the vessels were loaded into the kiln. After the glost firing, the vessels will finally be ready. At the next workshop on Oct. 11, Sunday, a lunch party will be held using the finished vessels. We are very much looking forward to next week.
(Miyake, 4th Year at School of Art & Design)





Yui’s Pottery Project “Workshop III”

After a little break since the second workshop, Workshop III was held on Sept. 27!
This was the day of full participation, because it was the day of the actual shaping of the vessels.
First, what would be the base of the vessel was chosen from the 3 colors of clay, and then the clay was sliced into thin sheets.
When the base had been prepared, the next step was creating the parts for the designs. This was where the “Nerikomi blocks” made at Workshop II came in. The clay was cut into any shape or size as desired using cookie cutters and bamboo skewers.
Many of the parts created were shared among the participants!
The participants arranged the parts on the base as they wished, and original patterns were formed.
The last step was to press the base into the mold created at Workshop I, adjust to shape and it was done!
At first, the participants were having a hard time trying to decide on their designs, but in the afternoon, the mood totally changed. Everyone had ideas about their creation and the work moved on smoothly.
At the next meeting on Oct. 4, we will be putting the final touches to the works.
It looks like we can expect to see many wonderful vessels showing character and originality!
(Miyake, 4th Year at School of Art & Design)






Yui’s Pottery Project “Workshop II”

On Sept. 6, Sunday, Workshop II, “Tsuchi-dukuri”, was held.
First, a procedure called “Kiku-neri” to make the clay ready for the forming of the vessel was carried out. Kiku-neri is an important procedure to let out the air from the clay. The trick is in the way the hands are used and it can be quite a challenge. Though the participants kept saying how hard it was, they kept trying. They gradually got the knack of it and clay of very good quality was made.
Next, we made “Nerikomi blocks”, which are blocks of clay with patterns already set in them. The procedure went smoothly as the teams cooperated with one another.
It was a somewhat physically tough Workshop II, but there were more dialogs among the participants and it turned out to be a lively meeting.
The next meeting will be on Sept 27, Sunday, and we will be working on the main part of shaping the vessels. We are all looking forward to seeing what sort of vessels will be created!
(Miyake, 4th Year at School of Art & Design)





Yui’s Pottery Project “Workshop I”

Yui’s Pottery Project’s Workshop I was held on Sept. 5, Saturday. The mold, which will be the base of the vessel, was made.
What was done at this first workshop required much physical effort, such as shaping big chunks of clay and using large amounts of plaster.
The participants worked hard looking keen and serious, but we also saw many of them talking and smiling as they helped each other.
It is our joy to hear people say, “I’m so excited wondering how the vessels are going to turn out.”
At the second meeting on Sept. 6, we will be doing the “Tsuchi-dukuri”, which is a procedure to prepare the clay that will be used to create the vessels. Although the workshop will be held over two consecutive days, I hope that tomorrow will be just as much fun!
(Miyake, 4th Year at School of Art & Design)






Yui Team: Research Done for the Next Workshop (WS)

This year, the Yui Team started off with 10 members. In preparation for this year’s WS, we began by doing research on collecting thoughts and comments from the participants of the “Yui’s Pottery Project” last year and the year before last.
As we now have more people, we split up into 2 teams and visited some of the participants’ homes, telephoned those that had moved out of Tsukuba, or had them come over to the university during the CR classes. We conducted our research and also enjoyed talking to them. While we were glad to hear that the participants enjoyed the WS last year and the year before last, some said that they would have rather made the dishes with someone they knew than they didn’t and giving the dishes away as a gift was a burden. Hearing directly these various opinions led us to feel the need to make improvements. At the same time, as 4 years have passed since the catastrophic earthquake, we found out that there have been changes or added complications in their individual lives and circumstances.
Along with the research, the members of the Yui Team actually carried out the “Yui’s Pottery” WS as a trial. Because we are a newly formed team, we were at first a little tense, but through the WS, we got the conversation going and had a good time making the Yui’s pottery.
As a result, we have decided on the new theme, which is “Creating a soft atmosphere — A dish that can’t be made alone.” We would like to continue discussing and decide on actual dates and details of the WS and how we would go about publicizing it. (Yoshida, 2nd Year at College of Agro-Biological Resource Science)





Yui Team’s “Yui’s Pottery Workshop Lunch Party” 

Oct. 19, Sunday, “Yui’s Pottery Project 2014” Lunch Party
We asked the people who took part in the workshop, those who had sent their vessels as an invitation, and last year’s Yui Team members to come together for a lunch party. The party was held to promote communication and interaction through the lunch using the bowls and sakura motif cups made during this year’s project.
We cooked with the participants who had volunteered to join us. We made kenchinjiru, fried hikina, which is a local dish of Fukushima prefecture, and added to these planned dishes, the participants brought in taro potatoes, sweet potatoes, komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach) and many other vegetables and other homemade dishes. The atmosphere was very friendly with the participants, who were full of energy, helping and teaching us how to make the dishes as we prepared for the lunch party. During the lunch, people reflected on the dishes they had created, and spoke about the words the recipients of the dishes had said to them, about the reaction when they saw the dishes, about the earthquake, about the current refugees situation 3 and 1/2 years after the nuclear power plant accident, about things on their minds now, and even about their hobbies and interests, touching on a wide range of subjects.
Finally, while we were delighted to hear that some people said that they would definitely like to come back again next year, we also pulled ourselves together to prepare for the next project. We would like to continue with the project in which the participants can enjoy making pottery and also bring out the best of our originality as the “Yui’s Pottery”. We would like to hold meetings to discuss what we had learned in the interaction this time and apply our experience to improve future initiatives. (Noguchi, 3rd Year at School of Art & Design)

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Yui Team’s “Yui’s Pottery Workshop, Session 3”

On Sunday, Sept. 28, the 3rd session of the Yui’s Pottery Project was carried out. The fired dishes were shown for the first time and it was also time to pack and get ready to give away the “Sakura-motif cups”. The first thing of the day was to take out the vessels from the kiln. The vessels that were glazed in the previous session had become glossy and transparent. The texture had transformed from a clayish one to a hard, porcelaneous one. The participants stared at their creations as they came out of the kiln, touched and felt around with their hands checking out the forms. They seemed to be appreciating the changes between before and after the firing. To complete, a base was carefully attached to each one and then it was show time. Everyone took pictures of the vessels, shared comments with one another, and talked about which parts they took special care in the making. Compared to the very first session, there was more conversation among the participants. At the photo session, each pair combined each other’s vessel to make it one “Yui’s pottery”. A beautiful smile was on everyone’s face. Next, it was preparing for the gift presenting. This is a new attempt that has been introduced this year. Each participant will carefully pack their vessel and write a thoughtful invitation letter for a party to be held on Oct. 19 and send them to the person that they wish to give their creation to. Some have chosen their spouse, but everyone has chosen a special person to whom they would like to give their creation, and they all seemed to be enjoying the process, making the session a very cozy and friendly one. When they had finished packing, some said, “I’m going to miss my work, which was finished only a moment ago.” At the end of the session, we asked the participants to comment on their work and the making process. The most impressive was “I’ve made the one and only piece in the world”. Finally, the staff thanked the participants for taking part and mentioned the sense of achievement we felt for accomplishing what we had done. I felt that today’s activity embraced many aspects of the reconstruction. Everyone went home with a smile. The pottery workshop came to an end today. The staff held many meetings trying to solve problems in order to make it a successful event, and we are very glad that there were no major troubles and we were able to achieve what we set out to do. The next event will be the party on Oct. 19. Everyone will bring along the dishes they had made, good food will be prepared and we hope to make it an enjoyable event for both the participants and the staff! (Noguchi, 3rd Year at School of Art & Design)

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Yui Team’s “Yui’s Pottery Workshop, Session 2”

At the 2nd Yui’s Pottery Project, glazing and loading of the kiln for the glost-firing were carried out with the participants. Once again, the participants were very enthusiastic about creating their own dishes. First, the participants saw their own creation after a week. They were surprised by the change between before and after the bisque firing. They were also pleased with the sakura motif that had beautifully appeared on the surface of the cups. This time, we used a glaze called limestone glaze-3, which turns transparent when fired at a high temperature (1250℃). Since the glaze must be applied to the bisque fired ware in one go, some of the participants were having trouble, but they also seemed to be enjoying the intense, focal moment of putting the glaze on their work. When the vessels were glazed, they were rather hard to distinguish which one belonged to whom, but next week, after the gloss firing, many a one-and-only, unique pieces of work will be completed. The participants loaded the kiln, looking forward to next week’s results. Next week, on Sept. 28, there will be an occasion to show off the finished works, and we will take time for a pack-and-send task to invite everyone’s special person to whom the created vessels will be presented. We hope to make next week’s workshop another memorable one full of fun. (Nagano, 3rd Year at School of Art & Design)


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Yui Team: Loading the Kiln

On Tuesday, Sept. 16, the vessels made at the workshop on Sunday, the 14th, were loaded into the kiln. Seeing the rows of clayware a few days after the participants had created their very original works, I felt a sense of relief. We made a record of which work belonged to which person, put them in the kiln, and then the staff discussed and decided on the temperature of the firing. (Since this was a bisque firing, we set it at 800℃.) That was all for the day. Because the vessels will appear very different after the firing, we are already looking forward to the results! (Noguchi, 3rd Year at School of Art & Design)