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Entries in itami (3)


museum of arts and crafts itami 伊丹市立工芸センター

the itami museum of arts and crafts combines a museum, teaching facility, gallery spaces, and even a little shop. all in a compound of buildings that include traditional japanese shophouses-some of which are open just to walk through and see, and some are used as the shop space, where teachers and students at the craft school have work for sale.

i dont know very much about the city of itami itself, (it's not included in my japan lonely planet) but wikipedia tells us that it was the only city in japan built within a castle (which was since torn down). from my architectural preservation friends, i know that itami also is an example of townscape preservation, which means that historic areas were preserved instead of just isolated buildings. and from my firsthand experience, there are good maps/signage including clear pedestrian access through the city.

the craft center offers a stunning array of craft classes: jewelry-making, spinning and dyeing, feltmaking, etc. mac itami is an excellent place to find out about all sorts of crafts and crafty things happening throughout the region, with flyers and information about current events and exhibits, and a helpful (japanese only) staff knowlegeable about a variety of crafts. this is where i found out about my favorite yarn store in kyoto, kin no hitsuji. HOWEVER, if you don't speak japanese or feel comfortable taking a class in japanese, i would not suggest you try to take a class here. i would recommend visiting the museum and the shop with handmade crafts, and picking up some flyers for current exhibits in the kansai area.



finished pottery!

this are the pottery pieces i made in a class at the itami arts and craft museum in 2007. the main clay and style of pottery in this class was tamba style, an earthenware from the northern part of hyogo prefecture.

the teacher had fired and glazed everything, and it was the first time to see everything i had made together.this bowl is my favorite.
but i like these two wee cups too.


pottery class in itami

yesterday was my first class at the itami craft center, part of the museum of arts and crafts in itami, hyogo prefecture, japan.

the ceramics class was fun, very mellow and laid back, with a distinctive community class feel. there were about 10 students total, a couple other younger people, but mostly middle aged/retirees. the woman across from me was there with her elderly mother, i think they have been enjoying classes there for a while, and they also know the woman next to me, who was hilarious. she was probably in her 50s, and very chatty, with a thick kansai accent. constantly talking about how whatever she was doing wasn't good, and that she didn't want the teacher to see it, but in a totally light-hearted and funny way. there were a couple of older gentlemen, with their aprons (as this is japan, most people had smocks or aprons-one grandpa had a christmas teddybear apron on, which was quite cute) who were quietly making pots. everyone was mostly coil-building on small handwheels. a couple of the older men also were obviously not novices, as one used all his 2 kilos of clay to make a huge vessel, and another threw a piece on the electric wheel. the teacher did a demo of the wheel, and encouraged people to use it for trimming/finishing their coil work. i've done wheel work before, and i'd like to get back into that, but i want to wait a few weeks and not be demanding!

the teacher was really nice, very positive and interesting, and has been to walla walla, washington, as part of some kind of sister city program. there was a moment when i was explaining my situation (i.e., what is the white girl doing in this class, and where is she from?) when everyone was listening, and some discussion of seattle included me having to look up a japanese word that i didn't know, which turned out to be 'slug.' which was funny, because in the guessing game of what it might be, i had guessed 'is it food?' based on the explanation that 'you put salt on it'. but anyway, apparently there's a rumor that there are slugs in seattle that are the size of tiny dogs (!)