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How Arita Ware Is Made

Arita-yaki is made with a traditional division of labor.

Forming the piece

Forming the piece
Forming the piece
This is the process used to create a form out of potter's clay. Two general methods are prevalent which are the use of molds and throwing using a potter's wheel.

Bisque-firing

Bisque-firing
Bisque-firing
After shaping and letting it dry, the green-ware is bisque-fired, which entails firing at a relatively low temperature (900°C). his lowers the danger of shrinkage and breakage during the next firing and the painted designs can be applied much more easily.

Underglazing (outline)

Underglazing (outline)
Underglazing (outline)
As an underglaze colour, gosu (a pigment of cobalt oxide) is used that turns blue after firing. First the patterns are outlined in gosu, and then paint is applied inside the patterns.

Underglazing (filling the patterns)

Underglazing (filling the patterns)
Underglazing (filling the patterns)

Glazing

Glazing
Glazing
The bisque-ware is then dipped in glaze. As the glaze is a milky white liquid, the blue underglaze disappears at first, but when fired, the glaze turns into clear glass, making the surface glossy; you can then see the various patterns again. Due to such glazing, the ware becomes waterproof and easy to keep spotlessly clean.

Final Firing (high temperature)

Final Firing (high temperature)
The ware is then fired at a high temperature of approximately 1300°C using firewood or gas. The blue and white porcelain is finished after this firing process.
Final Firing (high temperature)

Overglazing

Overglazing
Overglazing
This is a process, where, after firing, colors other than blue (red, green, yellow or gold) are painted on the porcelain glass surface. When painted on white porcelain, the overglaze is called Akae, and when painted on underglazed porcelain, it is called Somenishiki.

Firing after Overglazing

Firing after Overglazing
Firing after Overglazing
In order to make the color durable after the overglazing, it is necessary to fire the ware in a special Akae or overglaze kiln at a temperature of about 700-800°C.

The Finished Product!

The Finished Product!
The Finished Product!
The finished porcelain will be about 15% smaller than it was directly after shaping in the beginning.