The sign in front of the Inima Pottery Workshop in the beautiful village of Kawakami-mura.

Feature on Japanese Workshop Inima Pottery

About Inima Pottery

With a motto of “Basic Use, Everyday Use”, husband and wife team, Yuichiro and Satoko Suzuki, craft their pottery in the beautiful village of Kawakami-mura.

Both have trained as craftsman and have since gone on to make a family business named Inima Pottery, which they founded in 1999.

Specialising in porcelain and stoneware, they make vessels for everyday life that are made to stand the test of time.

Photography: Wataru Murakami

Introduction

The Inima Pottery studio is based in the village of Kawakami-mura in Yoshino, Nara Prefecture. A village that’s in the midst of the mountains and is especially known for its beautiful nature. The changes in season are particularly prevalent here, during the summer months there’s beautiful greenery, and in autumn Larch trees change their colour to red. White snow covers the ground in winter, and when spring comes the mountains are covered with fresh green leaves and blossoms.

This environment is what inspires owners Yuichiro and Satoko Suzuki, husband and wife team that make up Inima pottery. Yuichiro was born in Kanagawa Prefecture and Satoko in Osaka, Yuichiro mainly specialises in porcelain and Satoko in stoneware. The stoneware is particularly impressive, as Satoko is able to create simple work that has a subtle colour scheme and a unique texture when held in the hand.

They take careful consideration when making their work to think about the user and how food would be placed on such a piece at meal time, not just visually but also in terms of functionality. Their goal with Inima has always been to make functional pottery that is warm and characterful, of which I think they’ve definitely succeeded. We hope you like this small feature which presents imagery from inside their workshop, we’re also really proud to present a selection we have on offer inside our shop. Although functional, their objects are also pieces of art.

A view of the Inima workshop in the beautiful village of Kawakami-mura.
A view of the Inima workshop in the beautiful village of Kawakami-mura.
Tools used to trim the pots inside the Inima workshop in Japan.
Some great looking vases and cylinder, all made at the Inima pottery studio in JapanPots that are ready to go in the kiln, each has its own style and character.
Pots that are ready to go in the kiln, each has its own style and character.
Satoko uses her sketchbook to plan out what she needs to produce throughout the day.
Satoko uses her sketchbook to plan out what she needs to produce throughout the day.
Yuichiro places some mugs in the kiln, these have been glazed and are ready to be fired.
Satoko loads up the kiln with plates and bowls, these have been fired once and a glaze has been applied.
Satoko loads up the kiln with plates and bowls, these have been fired once and a glaze has been applied.
Up-close shot of the plates before they have been fired a final time in the pottery kiln.
Yuichiro carrying the pots down to the kiln, this is where they will be fired.
Different coloured pots that are waiting to be loaded in to the kiln.
Satoko uses a spiral kneading technique to work out any air bubbles or impurities stuck in the clay.
Satoko uses a spiral kneading technique to work out any air bubbles or impurities in the clay.
Satoko works the clay on the wheel to start opening the shape of a bowl.She then collars in the clay to make the form tighter, all the while making sure the walls don't collapse or distort.
Satoko works the clay on the wheel to start opening the shape of a bowl. She then collars in the clay to make the form tighter, all the while making sure the walls don’t collapse or distort.
Satoko pulls up the walls of the pot, making sure they're even.
She then cuts the vessel off of the wheel, the bottom will be trimmed at a later stage.
She then cuts the vessel off of the wheel, the pot will be trimmed at a later stage when it is dry enough.
Here Satoko makes a plate, pulling the clay outwards to make a flat surface.
She pays particular attention to the edges, this is where she will apply coloured slip.
Wiping the edges of a bowl to make sure there are not sharp edges.
Wiping the edges of a bowl to make sure there are not sharp edges.
Satoko starts to trim the pottery of the bowl, getting rid of the excess clay left from the throwing process.
Satoko starts to trim the pottery of the bowl, getting rid of the excess clay left from the throwing process.
Close up photo of Satoko Suzuki trimming the base of a bowl.She now applies the slip at the Inima studio in Japan.
She then applies a slip to the bowl, this will coat the textured body below and add a colour base to the piece.
She then applies a clay slip to the bowl, this will coat the textured body below and add colour to the piece.
Using wax resist in her studio, this stops the foot of the bowls sticking to the kiln shelf.
Using wax to stop the glaze sticking to the foot of the bowl.Dipping the bowls in a clear glaze.
Satoko uses a wax resist on the foot of the bowls, this stops them sticking to the kiln shelf. She then drips them in a clear glaze.
She lets the bowls dry on the side of the table.
Once dry she can take them to the kiln. This particular plate is the White Blue Edged Plate.
Once dry she can take them to the kiln. This particular plate is the White Blue Edged Plate.
The finished White Blue Edged Plate ready to be shipped to us here at OEN.The finished White Blue Edged Plate ready to be shipped to us here at OEN.
The finished White Blue Edged Plate ready to be shipped to us here at OEN.
Satoko using the White Soup Cup at her home.
Satoko using the White Soup Cup at her home.
Satoko and Yuichiro Suzuki with their two children at their beautiful home in the village of Kawakami-mura in Yoshino, Nara Prefecture.
Satoko and Yuichiro Suzuki with their two children at their beautiful home in the village of Kawakami-mura in Yoshino, Nara Prefecture.