Naha’s Tsuboya District has been the hub of Okinawan Pottery
Along a small backstreet road in the traditional pottery area, Tsuboya, in Naha, you will find a small studio surrounded by shrubbery and large clay statues. It is one of many make-your-own pottery shops in the area. While reservations are recommended, you can also walk in and commence your pottery adventure. Choose from two designs of shisa (traditional guardian statue) or dishware and follow your teacher into the studio room.
As the teacher guides you through each step of the process, you will work with fresh clay to create your earthen masterpiece. There is nothing quite like the feeling of cool, smooth clay in your hands. While the small shisa statue is a fun, hour-long process, the shisa face took more than two hours and involved complex rolling and sculpting techniques, definitely a challenge for beginners.
In the open studio with a cool breeze and the sound of birds trickling in, the morning was relaxing and peaceful. The teachers are patient and helpful, quick to assist but careful not to overwhelm their students. The entire process is meditative, calming and motivating. Being able to see the entire process from start to finish only makes the excitement of completion greater. Once finished, the piece is left in the caring hands of the studio assistants, who later fire and glaze your work.
Another fun moment is yet to come: the day about a month later when a box arrives at your door. The finished pieces can be a bit heavy for hanging, but they look lovely as a table centerpiece or bookshelf display. Welcome home, creation!
[posted by Nadia]