Behind the Wheel: Ceramics Classes in Minato-ku
By Cynthia Popper
On April 2, 2014
Writers are all up in their heads all day long. Heck, people are all up in their heads all day long. Sometimes, you just want to stop thinking and get your hands dirty. Get away from your keyboard and make something. You don’t have to be an artist to create something cool– in fact Uzumako Ceramics is all about making tactile creativity accessible to all. And bonus: it’s super, super fun.
Iranian-born Teimour Sabouri didn’t set out to become a ceramic artist. “I studied math and psychics, then switched to Craft Arts.” He took off from there, getting both an M.F.A. and Ph.D. in Ceramics from Tokyo University of the Arts. He founded Uzumako two years ago with his fellow artist partners to bring ceramics to the masses, offering affordable classes for students ages four and up.
The studio is small, with five potter’s wheels and a table for handwork. I took the one-hour trial lesson on the potter’s wheel—which includes a demonstration of how to work the clay and the wheel, and studio time to make as many pieces as you can during that time.
After learning to knead the air out of the clay, Teimour gave me a brief rundown on the wheel and then cut me loose. Instantly I could tell this was going to become an addicting hobby. Gooey hands creating bowls, cups, vases, and misshapen blobs (when I screwed up he jumped in to trim or recover the work).
Learning pressure, smoothness, wetness, and wheel speed all take time, but considering it was my first time working with clay, I was pretty happy with the pieces I turned out. It’s cathartic, focused, and just plain fun.
I made four really simple pieces: a bowl, a dish, a teacup, and a vase. Firing fees depend on the size, and you have the option of coming back for a second lesson on trimming and a third for glazing, or you can let the artists finish the work for you. I chose the latter, simply because I want more wheel time before I learn how to detail my work. I signed my two pieces chosen to be fired and picked out the glazes—Teimour will email me in a few weeks when they’re ready to be picked up.
What a lovely way to try something new, use your hands, and make gifts for your people. It’s a fun date idea too. So step away from the computer and get behind the wheel.
Uzumako Ceramic Art School
Trial Lesson Fee 3500 yen + firing fee
Every day: 10am – 7pm (Friday closed)
Address: PBO: 105-0014 3-29-11,Shiba,Minato Ku,Tokyo