Masanori Makino

On our most recent trip, Makino-san and his wife welcomed us into their studio in the quiet outskirts of Hagi. Positioned at the entrance of his gallery store, Makino-san proudly displays his certificate as a Certified Master of Traditional Crafts (Dentōkugei-shi).

A true custodian of the traditional art form of Hagi yaki, Makino-san is recognised as one of the hardest working Hagi yaki artisans in the city. He carries out every step of the process by hand, using traditional methods. Makino-san digs for the majority of the clay used in his pieces. After collecting the wild clay, he sifts, refines and prepares it for throwing. Every piece is formed on his kick wheel in the quiet studio he converted from an old farm house on the edge of Hagi. Makino-san also cuts the timber and collects the rice straw to make his ash glazes, which he mixes by hand. Many of his pieces feature small finger marks where he held it while dipping into his glazes.

In 2018, Makino-san built the newest climbing kiln in Hagi, maybe the last step kiln to be built in the region. Only firing once per year, he spends the majority of the year in preparation. Each firing is a process that takes days to complete. The main chamber is filled with recycled timber from torn down houses before adding the kindling. Once the fire is started, it is kept to temperature by feeding it every 15 minutes for over 30 hours. Makino-san does not rest during this time, ensuring the optimal temperature is maintained throughout the entire firing. 

It is undeniable that all of his effort and dedication is worth it. No two pieces by Makino-san are alike, every vessel is a rare taste of a centuries old art form. 



Masanori Makino digging for clay in Japan
Masanori Makino throwing bowls on his kick wheel in Hagi, Japan
Masanori Makino adding wood to his woodfire kiln in Hagi, Japan