Kyoto & Koishiwara Pottery

Explore Collaboration of Two Ware Techniques

Higashiyama, Kyoto
A collaboration of two Japanese traditional production skills and yours
¥31,000 ~

The gallery, which is spread out just inside the workshop, is lined with works such as a signature piece, the Seiji Tobi Kanna, as well as other pieces and ceramic jewellery. In the production workshop you can watch pottery being made in front of your eyes, where processes other than kiln firing are carried out, such as rokuro shaping and glazing. In this experience, you can watch a demonstration of the entire production process, from grinding out the vessel on the potter's wheel to the 'tobikanna' technique, and then make the pottery under the direct guidance from the craftspeople. (To complete the work by yourself, you will experience the work by hand rather than on the wheel). One of the potteries produced by you will be fired later with a pattern made using the tobikanna technique by the craftsperson, so that the you and the craftsperson can collaborate to produce a unique pottery in the world.

The celadon inherited from long ago in Kiyomizu, Kyoto

Soryu pottery is a family pottery company with a studio in Kiyomizu, Kyoto. The first generation of Wakunami Soryu carried on the techniques from the first generation Suwa-Sozan, a leading figure in “Kyo-Yaki celadon”, who was active in the Meiji era (1868-1912) and Taisho era (1912-1926). Ever since, for four generations by Wakunami family potters, the traditional craft of Kyoto Kiyomizu Pottery has been carefully carried on. The green glaze, “Seiji” (celadon) is a characteristic of Soryu pottery. The color of celadon has been preserved and carefully passed down from generation to generation. Its color is gentle and elegant, a beautiful fusion of blue and green.

Celadon made at Soryu pottery is produced using a technique called "kneading celadon", in which pigments are mixed into the pottery clay. Compared to ordinary celadon, there are many more processes involved in the production, which take a lot of work and time. This process is essential for the creation of the blue with a unique and distinctive depth.

Combination of traditional crafts from Kyoto and Fukuoka

Soryu Pottery is a pottery production company that combines the traditional techniques of Kiyomizu-yaki from Kyoto and Koishiwara-yaki from Fukuoka and is made by a couple of craftspeople who have carried on their each traditional skills. A Kiyomizu-yaki craftsperson and a Koishiwara-yaki craftsperson became a married couple and combined their skills to create "Seiji Tobikanna," one of the representative works of Soryu Pottery. The beautiful celadon carried on from the first generation is decorated with the traditional Koishiwara-yaki technique of "Tobikanna", which combines elegance and warmth.

“Tobikanna” is a technique in which the edge of a plane made from the mainspring of an old clock is applied to the fabric while the wheel is turned, and the plane scrapes the clay at high speed to produce a regular pattern.

The unique style of the Soryu Pottery was born from the marriage of the fourth generation of Wakunami Soryu, to his wife, a potter from Koishiwara-yaki in Fukuoka, and from the combination of two techniques from different potteries in different areas. Koishiwara-yaki is from Tobu-mura, Asakura-gun, Fukuoka Prefecture, and mainly produces daily-used potteries. The pottery is characterised by a unique geometric pattern expressed by brushwork, Tobikanna, uchikake and kushikaki. The brand 'Soryu Pottery' was only possible because of the two of them, and the couple work on the pottery wheel every day to pursue new expressions of celadon and create pottery loved by many people.

They say

“Kyoto is a place where traditions have been handed down over a long period of time.

There may be many opportunities to see the skills and work of craftspeople, but I look forward to working together with you to make a unique piece of work by incorporating traditional techniques into your potteries.”

Madoka & Soryu Wakunami
The first generation of Wakunami Soryu was trained under the first generation of Suwa-Sozan, a leading figure in Kyo-Yaki celadon active in the Meiji and Taisho periods. He inherited his techniques and established his own business in Gojo, Kyoto, around 1940. Since then, four generations of the Wakunami family have continued to preserve and produce pottery using traditional techniques in Kiyomizu, Kyoto. In 2015, they established Soryu Pottery, where they work as a couple, combining the skills of craftspeople who have carried on each techniques from Kiyomizu-yaki in Kyoto and Koishiwara ware in Fukuoka, Japan.

Workshop Courses