Tokoname Ware Teapot - Gafu Ito
Wheel-thrown teapot made by Gafu Ito in Tokoname City.
Elutriation and patience are what makes this teapot extra special. It is a yokode kyūsu, or side-handle teapot, made by Gafu Ito. Still in his early 30’s, he works independently in his home city of Tokoname. He emphasizes firing with the right soil, and by this he means a process of preparation that can take up to two years. The clay is harvested in the nearby Chita Peninsula and elutriated with a sieve daily to separate different sized particles and remove only the smallest particles every day. This is done for half a year. The water with accumulated smallest daily particles is transferred to an unglazed jar to slowly seep away and evaporate, and then subdivided into smaller pots over a further 3-4 month period. After a year of removing moisture and resting, a hardened clay has formed which is ready to work with. Only then is the teapot made, before it is wood fired. This whole process, up to packing the teapot, is done by Gafu Ito himself as a matter of principle, and he also insists on making only his own designs and not necessarily what is in vogue.
The teapot uses a "sasami" or ceramic mesh strainer as part of the body, to ensure good filtration of tea leaves while still pouring easily. It is ideal for regular or deep steamed Japanese or other leaf teas and can also easily accommodate a tea bag.
It comes in a silver-grey colour with an unglazed texture.
Volume: 250ml (approximately)
Packaging: cardboard box
Tokoname is the location of one of Japan’s Six Ancient Kilns, with a ceramics history dating back to the 12th Century. Over the years it has become famous for bonsai and shochu pots, and its distinctive teapots, including red clay teapots. It is also the largest producer of maneki neko (beckoning cats) in Japan, with interesting variations dotting the access road from the train station.