ABOUT BIZEN WARE
Soil of Bizen ware
It may use mountain soil and black soil, currently Bizen ware generally use the soil of field called “Hiyose”. If the upper 2-4 meters soil of the rice field are removed, then appears the unexploited soil. There is not the good soil everywhere in rice fields, It is rare and valuable when you find the layer and extract it.
Just letting the soil sample idle for several years and impurities adjust in the soil. Crush it with a hammer after being dried, next put it in a water tank and soak. And move the now muddy soil to a bowl of unglazed pottery, and dries naturally after draining and mix with the soil kneading machine.
Ceramists particular about the old ways, do not use the soil kneading machine, knead with their feet. This way maintains the same, softness and consistency of the soil and the strength of the back are increased. Furthermore, they carefully remove impurities and pebbles by hand, to make the soil which is easy to mold by laying again.
A lot of iron and organic matter are included in the soil of Bizen ware, and there is tenacity, stickiness like sweet jelly(yokan) so it is easy to mold with good sharpness. On the other hand, it should fired at a high temperature (yakishime) carefully and slowly for long time, Because it would be easy to crack and chip due to refractoriness.
In addition, The shrinkage rate is very high, it shrink approximately 20% from drying to firing. In this way, soil of Bizen is sensitive so it takes time for the making. Attractive ware is made in this way from soil with love and made in this way.
Ceramist of Rosanjin Kitaooji said, ” The Soil of Bizen was the top of the world.” and Sculptor of Isamu Noguchi touched it, and was attracted by its splendor.
As is said “Not to sell to field even if the kiln is sold”, Valuable Bizen soil supports a Japanese traditional industrial arts.