Makoto Asebi at his studio in Kamakura, Japan.

Inside the Pottery Studio of Japanese Potter Makoto Asebi

About Makoto Asebi

Japanese potter Makoto Asebi was born in Sapporo, Hokkaido, but now lives and works in Kamakura, Japan.

This talented craftsman focuses on creating timeless pieces of pottery with character and warmth. He uses the pottery wheel and special slips in the glazing process to achieve a matte like appearance on the surface of his vessels. His ‘Tetuya’ range is especially popular, which has a dark ever changing appearance thanks to the properties of the glaze.

Photography: Manako

Introduction

Makoto Asebi is a Japanese potter based in Kamakura, Japan. Having been raised in Sapporo, the mountainous northern region of Hokkaido, this area is known for it’s pottery that’s textured with subdued colour, reflecting the colder weather in this region. As Makoto moved to the popular coastal town of Kamakura, which is a slightly contrasting place to settle, his pottery has a distinct flavour and aesthetic that really brings a new element to his pottery.

The area where he resides has a rural feel and Makoto’s workshop follows suit, with its wooden shutters and natural planting that scatter the grounds of his studio. Feeding off this , Makoto Asebi mainly makes functional pottery using simple black and white glazes. This makes it easy for his aesthetic and character to shine through, as well as offering a blank canvas for different food and drink to sit inside. Many of the pieces are not entirely symmetrical, showing the hand of the maker and connecting you to the process of making the pottery itself.

This feature here gives us a quick glimpse inside the studio of Makoto Asebi, looking at how he produces his works from start to finish. The pictures highlight him kneading the clay, moving to the wheel and finishing one of his distinct Delft dishes, and later firing some of his quirky coffee cups and small plates in the pottery kiln. In turn, a selection of his work can now be found in our online shop. Enjoy.

Makoto Asebi kneads the clay at his studio in Kamakura, Japan.Makoto Asebi kneads the clay at his studio in Kamakura, Japan.

Makoto Asebi kneads the clay at his studio in Kamakura, Japan.
Makoto Asebi uses a spiral wedging technique.
Makoto Asebi kneads the clay, making all air bubbles are removed from the clay.He weighs the clay on his scales to make sure he has the right amount of clay.

He weighs the clay on his scales to make sure he has the right amount of clay.
He places a wooden batt on the pottery wheel, making it easy to take the object off the wheel once finished.
Makoto Asebi puts the clay on the wheel.He starts to open out the shape of the plate.

Makoto Asebi puts the clay on the wheel and starts to open out the shape of the plate.
Makoto Asebi finds the right height for the plate on the pottery wheel.
Makoto Asebi kneads the clay at his studio in Kamakura, Japan.Makoto Asebi kneads the clay at his studio in Kamakura, Japan.

He slowly lowers his rib on the side wall to open out the vessel, making the walls of the plate lie flat.
Makoto defines the middle of the dish with a sponge, making it stand out on the final design.
The final form made from stoneware clay, this will be trimmed and fired once dry.

The final form made from stoneware clay, this will be trimmed and fired once dry. Buy the Delft Dish in our online shop.
A selection of coffee cups by Makoto Asebi .Makoto Asebi's coffee cups waiting to be fired at his studio in Kamakura, Japan.

A selection of coffee cups by Makoto Asebi, available in our online shop.
Coloured tests of glazes that he has made and fired in the kiln.
Makoto Asebi's brushes and slip in which he uses to sign his name and decorate his work.
Cute cat picture and russian dolls inside his studio.
Leaving the clay to dry outside, this will later be kneaded and re-used.
Makoto Asebi carries the coffee cups to his pottery kiln at the side of his garden.Makoto Asebi and his wife at his home/studio in Japan.

Makoto Asebi carries the coffee cups to his pottery kiln at the side of his studio.
Makoto stacks the pieces of pottery, soon to be fired in the pottery kiln.Makoto Asebi's cat at his studio in Japan.
Makoto carrying the work to his pottery kiln.
Opening his pottery kiln, a selection of plates and mugs.

Opening his pottery kiln, a selection of plates and mugs.

Plates by Makoto Asebi, now stocked at OEN Shop.
Makoto's pottery at his studio in Kamakura.Cups and plates in the kiln at Makoto Asebi's studio.