Art Ehime Tobe

Why don’t you try painting on Tobe-yaki, one of the traditional potteries in Japan? / Tobeyaki Togeikan (tobe-cho, Iyo-gun, Ehime)

“Tobe-yaki” is a pottery which has about 240-years of history, and is a designated Traditional Craft in Japan and an Intangible Cultural Property in Ehime.
Tobe-yaki is characterized by indigo painting on thick white ceramic.

There are around 100 potteries in Tobe town.
These potteries have inherited the traditional techniques of Tobe-yaki, but also, they have been creating new Tobe-yaki with colorful coloring and unique designs these days.

“Tobeyaki Togeikan” is along the National Route 33. It is about a 30-minute drive from the center of Matsuyama City, and about a 10-minute drive from the Matsuyama Interchange.
Togeikan displays and sells pottery works from various potteries, and you can also try the “Etsuke (painting),” “Tebineri (making by hand),” and “Rokuro (potter’s wheel)” experiences.
Of special note, the “Etsuke (painting)” experience can be participated in without any reservations.
You can enjoy it without any sense of hesitation!

Don’t think it is too difficult. The work is very simple and not hard at all!
You actually don’t have to paint or draw pictures on it, maybe just drawing some lines, or writing your favorite letters is enough.
You are making pottery with a unique design in the world, so just feel free to draw or paint by yourself!

Draw anything you like on unglazed pottery.

The process of making Tobe-yaki is, at first, making the body (clay) from porcelain stones.
The next step is making a shape with the potter’s wheel, and sanding, then drying it out.
The pottery is fired to make unglazed pottery first.
The painting is done on the unglazed pottery, and it is glazed and fired to finish it.

Now, what would you like to paint on?
There are various sizes and shapes of plates and mugs, so you can choose your favorite one from among them.
Today, I chose two popular items, one is a “square plate (small)” and the other is a “wall-hanging (round).”

The “Etsuke” experience is so simple.
First, do a rough sketch for the painting. Then paint (or draw) with your favorite color over the sketch! That’s it!
See? I believe you can do it, right?

You don’t have to think it’s too difficult! Sketching with a pencil is easy.
If you make some mistakes, just ignore them, because the pencil lines will disappear after the unglazed pottery is fired.

There are some sample pictures and patterns, which are useful if you want to refer to some Japanese characters.

After the sketch, let’s put some color on it!
If you put too much color on the same spot, it may make the paint uneven and irregular after the kilning.
But! Some irregularities might turn into tasteful points!

Now, the “Etsuke” is done!
It takes about 6-7 weeks until they are completed.
Pretty hard to wait…!

These are the finished products!

The contrast of white and blue on the plate is beautiful, and this is the character of Tobe-yaki.
The pink and green on the wall hanging is so cute!
These are my “original” creations, and I am so happy to have them!

The finished products can be shipped to your home if it is difficult for you to come back to get them (Postage will be charged in addition to the experience fee).

If you are interested in other experiences, the “Tebineri (making by hand)” and “Rokuro (potter’s wheel)” experiences are also recommended (reservations required).
You can enjoy the world of pottery more deeply through these experiences.

The memory of this experience will remain in your own painting, and it is so easy and fun!
The “Etsuke” experience will be a good memory from your trip.
Please try to make at least one Tobe-yaki by yourself, and have fun with the pottery experience.

Tobeyaki Togeikan
Address/83, Miyauchi, Tobe-cho, Iyo-gun, Ehime
Nearest Station/1-minute walk from “Toritaniguchi” Bus Stop on Iyotetsu Bus for Tobe-cho from Matsuyamashi Station
Open/8:30~18:00(Experiences are till 17:00)
Experience fee/from 700 yen(differs from the shapes and sizes)
Closed/1st of January
Parking lot/Available

Photographs and texts by Chiemi Nishimori

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