Pottery-Making Workshop at Rokuro Studio
While there is no shortage of impressive pieces of porcelain wares to admire around Saga Prefecture, visiting a workshop is the best way to gain insight and perspective into the delicate art of ceramics. If you’re a more hands on learner visit Rokuro Studio in Arita where you can get your hands dirty, pick up a new skill and you craft your own creations to take home.
Trace your way along the colorful walls of Arita town to Rokuro Studio found just a 10minute walk from Kami-Arita Station. As a town with around 400 years of history in porcelain-making, it’s no surprise to find that the workshop’s instructors have a passion and experience for pottery that inspires an eagerness to learn in their students. Suitable for all levels and ages, both beginners and seasoned potters alike can benefit from the personal guidance of the teachers to create your own work of art, made in Arita.
Kicking off with a short demonstration from the two local instructors, students are quickly encouraged to get on the potter’s wheel “Rokuro” to try their hand at their own pieces. Open to everyone, the workshop is held in both Japanese and English and the instructors make their way around the room ready to assist in guiding you through the pottery process. Whether molding a cup, a bowl or something more complicated, the expert guidance and knowledge of the instructors is what makes this experience so special.
Dotted across the studio walls are tips to get your pot as neat and as authentic as possible. For those who wouldn't know where to start with throwing a pot, this is not only a good introduction but will also set you up with all the basic skills for the pottery making process. The step-by-step guides focus on some basic tips to improve your technique. The illustrated posters are there to assist you in achieving the authentic Arita ware style.
Once you're happy with your pot - and don't get disheartened, it may take a couple of attempts - it's ready for firing. Planning on staying a while in Arita? Do the workshop at the beginning of the trip so you can pick your fired pieces up a few days later. There is also an international shipping service available so you can have your pots sent out to you before you leave Japan.
The cost of the workshop varies depending on how detailed you want to get. For the wheel throwing experience prices start at 1,300 yen for the simple molding class, however if you’re after a more involved process, the warm molding, scraping and sintering class is 1,950 yen. If you’d rather just try your hand at painting, the ceramic painting workshop costs 1,000 yen for a cup or bowl, or 1,500 for a coffee cup. If the full experience is what you’re after, then you can paint what you crafted in the potting wheel for an additional 500 yen.
Time wise expect to put aside an hour for the class, as it runs just a little under that. Per class you can make two pieces, but if you’re going in a group be sure to book in advance to avoid missing out. If you don’t want to carry your ceramic creation with you throughout the rest of your trip it’ll be shipped to your nominated address within one to two months. For those who catch the pottery making bug, there are options to buy a ‘passport’ which gives you access to up to ten classes you can attend throughout the year.