Tsubaki Gama studio can be found on the top of a quiet hill, in a rural town of Yunotsu, where the hills and ocean meets. Originally this region was famous for production of large water pots to hold water for household use. The techniques they use are quite unique and original to the region.
There are a multi-step kiln, built from the bottom to the top of the hill, roughly 15 of them in a row. They would only fire them 5 times a year. It was a big town effort to collecting and fire, and to make sure the temperature stayed consistent throughout the nights. With fire wood, they maintained temperature of approximately 1300 degrees celsius over multiple days of firing.
After the war, the popularity of these pots has decreased significantly due to increased use of plastic in households. However Mr Arao, who was a second generation ceramicist at the time training in Kyoto, felt as if it was his life work to maintain the art of Yumotsu. He moved to Yunotsu in 1969, and has stuck to the traditional ways of creating these pots and ceramics, to preserve the art.
Unfortunately Mr Arao has passed in 2021, and now the son Koichi has taken on the family business as the fifth generation ceramicist, and currently does everything on his own. This includes finding and digging up clay, preparing the clay, forming, firing and painting. Don’t forget everything in between - packaging, communicating, paperwork. Absolutely everything.
His careful and powerful stillness lives through his work. His plates and bowls are heavy and sturdy from the choice of clay and the firing process. This ensures that these everyday items feel luxurious and special.
To support Tsubaki Gama, shop Koichi's ceramics below.