【#3】On Pottery Mountain / 焼き物の山にて

執筆: テリー・エリス


text & photo: Terry Ellis
edit: Yukako Kazuno

I visited Onta Sarayama again.


The first time I saw the pottery village on the mountain was in the Winter of 1994. I took the local bus in freezing snowy weather. There were no other passengers.The bus going back to town was in two hours.


I saw only 3 people in the two hours I was there, and very few pots. I saw a lovely green glazed pitcher leaning against the wall of a climbing kiln and asked the woman in the pottery opposite if I could buy it. It was the only piece of pottery I saw available for sale while I was there. The other pots I saw were in the small unattended unheated museum, they were amazingly good. Some of them were made at Onta by English potter Bernard Leach who visited the potters there and taught them to make pitchers in the English style.


The tour of the village took 30 minutes and then I waited an hour and 30 more minutes for the bus.


After half an hour I was so cold my face hurt. I ate a banana, the only food I had with me, it was almost frozen.


Time passed. I looked at the Museum again.
I felt obliged to remove my shoes and wear brown plastic slippers that were 2 sizes too small for me. My feet turned to ice. I began to fret that the bus wouldn’t come and I would die there on the mountain.


This time I drove up the mountain in a private car in fine weather. The wifi cut out half way up to the village but that was no great hardship.
I bought and ordered pots. 
Many of the potteries have shops with a selection of their work for sale. 
The Museum is now much larger and well heated.


There is space on the mountain for a limited number of potters, eleven to fourteen I think.
This is due to there being room on the river that runs down the mountain and through the village for only that number of water powered wooden hammers to crush the clay that the potters dig out of the mountain.


The sound that these massive hammers make is amazing…a loud groan and a heavy thump  at regular intervals.  The whole mountain is a tuning fork  for the music of Titans.


Onta Sarayama is a remote and wonderful place and the pots made there are beautiful.




BEAMS〈fennica〉のディレクター。1986年より、BEAMSのロンドンオフィスとして海外ブランドのバイイングを担当。1994年に〈BEAMS MODERN LIVING〉を立ち上げ、北欧のファニチャーや柳宗理の名品バタフライスツールを展開。2003年からは、“デザインとクラフトの橋渡し”をテーマにしたレーベル〈fennica〉をスタートし、オリジナルのウエアや日本を中心とした伝統的な手仕事と、世界各地から集められた新旧デザインを融合するスタイル を提案している。


fennica HP