Demonstration and talk on reviving the Obori Soma tradition of pottery making
Craftsman Masanori Sue, from the town of Namie in Fukushima, will lead a demonstration of pottery wheel techniques used in making Namie’s traditional Obori Soma ware. Takeshi Matsunaga, also from a family of potters from Namie, will accompany Masanori Sue and introduce the craft of Obori Soma.
Obori Soma ware is a 300-year-old style of ceramics that developed in Namie and has traditionally relied on clay that can only be found in that local region. Namie was home to 25 Obori Soma kilns until 3.11 when all were destroyed, forcing the local craftspeople to relocate to various other parts of Japan.
Against this background, and inspired by his third-generation kiln-master father, Takeshi Matsunaga founded the Kachi-Uma (“winning horse”) Project. Named after the running horse motifs characteristic of Obori Soma ware, the Kachi-Uma Project is a venture that aims to revive the Obori Soma tradition by building its profile in Japan and overseas, and keeping the craft relevant to contemporary lifestyles. In doing so, it is helping the former potters of Namie to overcome the grave setbacks caused by 3.11. To date, 11 of the 25 families have re-established kilns outside Namie and have returned to producing Obori Soma ware.
During the demonstration, Matsunaga and Sue will share their experience of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and talk about how the community is working to keep the Obori Soma craft alive.