KURINUKI: The charm of this Japanese technique

Welcome to the wonderful world of kurinuki, a Japanese ceramic technique that elevates clay to the category of art. This unique and millenary method allows us to transform a simple block of clay into a beautiful and functional object.

tazon kurinuki
Hermosa obra de Somin Ceramics

Kurinuki Ceramics

Kurinuki is a traditional way of working ceramics that comes from Japan. Unlike other ceramic techniques that involve modeling or turning, this method consists of carving a solid block of clay.

With patience and precision, the artist excavates the block until the piece is shaped. Each scratch, each indentation, each soft stroke of the chisel becomes a mark of authenticity. The result is a unique, unrepeatable piece that bears the mark of the craftsman.

Kurinuki is more than a technique; it is a philosophy that celebrates individuality and the perfection of imperfection.

Kurinuki Technique

This ceramic technique is based on the idea of subtraction. We start with a block of clay and remove it little by little to reveal the form that was hidden. Herein lies its magic, in discovering, not creating.

First, it is necessary to prepare a solid block of clay. It must be large enough to hold the shape we intend to carve.

Then, using carving tools, the clay is sculpted, starting from the outside and progressing towards the inside.

The clay should be removed little by little, always bearing in mind the final shape you want to obtain.

El Kurinuki Chawan

A common use of this technique is the creation of the chawan, a traditional Japanese tea drinking bowl. A kurinuki chawan is a unique work, where every detail, from the thickness of the wall to the shape of the base, is made with careful attention. The result is a unique tea bowl that reflects the artist’s personality and skills.

Kurinuki Chawan
Obra de Somin Ceramics

Creating these tea bowls

Creating one of these works requires precision and patience. Every detail must be considered and every movement must be measured. These are the main steps to create a chawan:

  • Choose a block of clay of the right shape and size.
  • Defines the outer shape.
  • Start digging the inside of the bowl.
  • Smoothes surfaces and perfects details.
  • Allow the piece to dry before firing.

El Kurinuki Yunomi

The Yunomi is another type of Japanese tea mug, more casual than the chawan and commonly used for drinking green tea. The creation of these beautiful bowls shares the same philosophy, appreciating the individuality and authenticity of the final result.

This type of bowl is a wonderful combination of functionality and aesthetics. Like the chawan, the creation of a yunomi involves careful carving of the clay block, but with a more informal, everyday approach.

cuenco kurinuki
taaza kurinuki

Bowls by Christian Larochelle

Get to know the spirit of this ancestral technique.

It is a very special process, a development of our own discovery. It is based on subtraction, removing what you feel should not be part of the piece, to reveal the form hidden inside. Here are some tips:

  • Work slowly: clay can be removed, but it is more difficult to add.
  • Use appropriate milling tools.
  • Have a clear vision of the shape you want to obtain beforehand.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. They are part of the process and give the piece its individuality.

Conclusions on this art

This is a ceramic journey full of patience, introspection and self-discovery. Regardless of the type of bowl and its utility, each piece is unrepeatable and carries with it the story of its creation. I hope this article has helped you understand and appreciate the beauty of kurinuki.

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