This ceramic is amazing! Discover the Nerikomi technique

The Nerikomi technique involves layering and mixing different colored clays to form complex patterns that are fully integrated into ceramic pieces. This methodology, rooted in Japanese tradition, allows artists to create works with durable and visually stunning designs that stand out for both their creativity and technique.

ceramica nerukomi

The Nerikomi technique, a distinctive form of ceramic art, is noted for its meticulous attention to detail and colorful pattern design. This art form, which originates from Japan, involves layering and mixing colored clays to create intricate patterns that are visible on both the inside and outside of the ceramic piece. Unlike other techniques that focus on surface decoration, Nerikomi integrates the design throughout the entire object, offering a unique fusion of color and form.

Origins of the Nerikomi ceramic technique

The history of the Nerikomi technique dates back centuries to Japan, where it was initially used to create ceremonial objects and teaware.

Nerikomi ware dates back to the Tang dynasty in China (618-907 AD), but was refined and popularized in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868). It has developed and transformed over the centuries, becoming incorporated into the Japanese ceramic tradition and adapted to contemporary styles.

Over time, this technique has also expanded globally, and has been adopted and adapted by ceramists around the world, who are attracted by its ability to combine colors and create unique visual designs.

nerukomi ceramic technique
This piece and the one on the cover are by GVKeramika

Creative Process in Nerikomi Ceramics

The process of creating a Nerikomi piece is both meticulous and artistic. It involves several key steps:

Clay Preparation: Different batches of clay are dyed with metallic oxides or ceramic pigments to obtain a range of colors.

Stratification: Colored clays are stacked in layers, sometimes with patterned inclusions, to form a building block.

Molding: The block is cut, manipulated and finally molded into the desired shape, either by hand or on the lathe.

Firing: The piece is fired, solidifying the patterns and fusing the clay layers together.

Differences between the Nerikomi technique and the others

Unlike other ceramic techniques, such as glazing or inlay, Nerikomi ceramics are distinguished by the complete integration of the patterns into the clay. This technique allows for greater durability of the designs, as the patterns do not fade or wear out with use, unlike those applied on the surface.

nerukomi ceramic technique

Discover the best works of Nerikomi ceramics

Fortunately, this tradition is still alive in the hands of contemporary artists.

The two techniques are often confused, but they are distinct, although both have in common the use of colored clays, but differ in their method and final result.

Nerikomi focuses on creating patterns or designs by layering colored clays before forming the ceramic piece. This technique allows for detailed control over the design, creating patterns that are visible on both the inside and outside of the ceramic. Nerikomi patterns are planned and created by building blocks of colored clay that are then cut to reveal intricate designs.

Neriage, on the other hand, involves kneading or interlocking colored clays to create marbling or swirling effects within the ceramic. Unlike Nerikomi, where patterns are premeditated and carefully layered, Neriage produces more random and organic results. The Neriage technique resembles the agate technique in ceramics, where the clays are partially mixed to create a swirling or marbling effect.


Nerikomi ceramics represent a fusion of art, science and tradition. Through the careful selection of materials, meticulous preparation of clay and creative layering of colors, artists can express a wide range of emotions and narratives. This technique, with its roots deeply rooted in Japanese history, continues to evolve and capture the imagination of ceramicists and collectors alike.

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