Are you looking for an accessible way to experience clay? Try Kurinuki, a traditional form of hand-building that comes from Japan.

This pottery technique is relatively easy, but it requires much patience and effort like other traditional clay arts. Whether you are new to the material, or a skilled professional in pottery, it will be an exciting challenge.

So, if you are ready to devote your time to this fantastic Kurinuki pottery, learn its history and features first and start practicing to become an experienced ceramicist.

What Is Kurinuki Pottery?

Kurinuki is the traditional Japanese pottery art, which implies hand-building and carving from a single block of clay.

This tradition is perfect for sculpting, but it also ideally fits for functional ware crafting. Using the Kurinuki technique, you can create anything you need (from a teacup to a vase), depending on how much time and effort you want to dedicate to this activity.

Kurinuki pottery art differs in instinctivity, so get ready to forget about the “right” clay forming and let yourself craft asymmetric and imprecise articles. Focus on pleasure received from the fascinating process of making ceramics, and create vessels that will reflect your personality and creativity. 

Another fascinating thing about Kurinuki pottery is that there is a diversity of options for its finish. Therefore, each item will be unique and exclusive, and the final result depends only on the ceramicist imagination.

Thus, a small cup can turn into a real masterpiece if you cover it with a mix of several different glazes. Add to this a bizarre form or unusual texture, and you’ll obtain a one-of-a-kind vessel.

There are no immutable rules when it comes to Kurinuki pottery. The only thing you need to consider is that it takes much time to become a professional. Nevertheless, once you master the basic technique of this clay tradition, you will start enjoying it while refining your practice and retaining its essential character at the same time.

History of Kurinuki Pottery

As mentioned above, Kurinuki is a traditional Japanese form of hand-building. This tradition involves shaping a solid block of clay and carving out a vessel. The technique implies a more sculptural approach to clay forming, thus creating an excellent interior and exterior of the item. 

The key idea of Kurinuki ceramics is to craft pottery spontaneously so that it looks “alive.” For this purpose, a ceramicist creates raw and sculptural vessels and avoids refined and smooth finishing. However, it doesn’t mean that your pottery items have to be rough, as there are many examples of cute and elegant Kurinuki vases, cups, and other articles.

Don’t have a specific kiln for firing the ware at home? Create Kurinuki pottery using a more modern way, i.e., fire ceramics in a conventional electric, gas, or wood-fired kiln. But don’t forget to take appropriate health and safety precautions. Take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to explore the Kurinuki clay tradition and turn this technique into your relaxation ritual. 

Tools for Kurinuki Pottery

The set of instruments you need for crafting Kurinuki pottery differs depending on what type of vessel you want to obtain. However, basic tools will help you create any ceramics item using the simple Kurinuki technique. Here is what you need:

  • a lump of clay of your preference;
  • a piece of cardboard or a banding wheel;
  • damp sponge;
  • digging tools (pottery loop tools or a simple spoon);
  • carving tools (DIY tools or a knife).

If you are a total newbie in pottery, you can start with something simple, for example, a teacup. The process of making a cup from a lump of clay won’t be super challenging for you, so you will be able to experience the Kurinuki clay art tradition and enjoy the process of hand-making.

Here is a brief step-by-step guide that will help you to create a pottery article on your own:

  1. Wedge a piece of clay and shape it into a lump. 
  2. Place it on a banding wheel or cardboard and hollow out its middle while the clay is soft.
  3. Gain the walls of about 2 cm thick, carve and form the general external shape, and leave to dry.
  4. After the clay has firmed up (it must be a little more complicated than leather), carve the foot ring using a loop tool. 
  5. Remove the clay from the outside of the foot ring by spinning the pot round at a right angle. 
  6. Please get rid of the remaining clay from the center of the item, trying not to make a hole in its base.
  7. Make more decorative cuts on the inside and outside of the pottery to become visible on the final round of crafting teacup.
  8. Ensure the walls are thin but still strong while trimming them for the last time.

Remember, your ceramics must be unique, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different tools and carving methods and finishing. Test different textures and glazes mix to obtain the result that will reflect your expectations.

Examples of Kurinuki Pottery from Etsy:

Check out these stunning Kurinuki pottery examples from Etsy, and pick an exclusive ceramic item for your home decor.

Ceramic Stoneware Kurinuki Oil Burner

This is an exclusive handmade ceramic oil burner made in the traditional Japanese Kurinuki style. Enjoy the atmosphere created by the light of a candle from the pottery item carved into a solid block of clay to shape the unique sculptural form. 

Black Carved Cup, Minimalist Kurinuki Design with Glossy Interior

This is a fantastic example of Kurinuki ceramics that can add uniqueness to your interior design. This one-of-a-kind ceramic cup is made of matte black clay with tiny white spots, resulting in an item’s delicate texture. If you are looking for a perfect vessel for tea, coffee, or wine, this is your must-have.

Rainbow Serving Dish, Kurinuki Pottery

Being made using a Kurinuki ceramics tradition, this pottery truly has personality. A unique rainbow style makes the item one of a kind, adding a great feature to your display. This vibrant and shiny serving dish will become a stunning decoration to your dishes. 

Gray and Red Kurinuki Vessel

This handcrafted cup is made of red clay, formed using a famous Kurinuki technique. The rocky texture of this pottery item will remind you of nature every time you’ll have your special drink. This one-of-a-kind piece will become an excellent gift for your friend or beloved one.

Original 1952 Signed Weed Pot Vase Form in the Kurinuki Manner

Kurinuki pottery makes every interior design special. We used a complex dark glaze with deep maroon spots and electric blue highlights for this unusual item. Add this exclusive asymmetrically shaped vase to your collection or impress your friend with a unique gift.