Characteristics of Ceramics

Porcelain and Pottery

Handmade ceramics have various expressions. Spots, cracks, glaze texture, shades, uneven shapes. Each ceramic is filled with the artist's thoughts and have their own unique personalty. Even if it's made by the same artist, each ceramic has a slightly different feature. However, this is the nature of handmade ceramics that mass-produced products do not have. Here, we will introduce the features that are often found in handmade ceramics.


Cracks in the glassy glaze occur due to the difference in the clay and the glaze shrinkage rates. In Japan this is called "KAN-NYUU" (crazing). This happens generally as the wares cool and harden after firing. This phenomenon of cracks is regarded as a unique result of the process in the art of ceramics. No Kan-nyuu are the same. Some artists add ink to Kan-nyuu intentionally to emphasise them. 

It's also different from cracks on the base clay, therefore it is not a defect and you don't have to worry about any leakage. 

As you use the crazed ceramics, the cracks may become coloured. It's up to ones taste how you want it to look over time, some prefer these refined looks. But in order to prevent it, it's important to seal your ceramics before first use. Please visit our care instructions page for more details. 


When firing in a kiln, organic matter left on the clay and/or dust on the glaze may be burned together, leaving traces of small holes. It's called a pinhole. Pinholes can also be caused by air bubbles that enter when the glaze is agitated. Almost always, you'll find pinholes on hadmade pottery. 
This is also one of the expressions of the handmade ceramics.


When firing pottery, iron originally contained in the natural clay is oxidized, and it appears as black spots on the surface of the ceramics. It is often found in artist's ceramics who value the natural texture of the soil itself, using coarse soil that easily produces iron powder. 
These grainy black spots reminds you the earthiness of nature. Black spots are sometimes called a "mole" and is appreciated as a unique feature of the ceramics.

uneven glaze

The glaze is carefully hand-applied by artists/makers, and therefore the application can be uneven sometimes. However, the traces of glaze flowing, the glaze pool, etc. have long been enjoyed as the "scenery" of the ceramics in Japan.


The ceramics that are carefully made with the artist's thoughts and sophisticated techniques are truly one-of-a-kind.
We have a saying in Japan "Ichigo-Ichie" which means making the most of every moment as a unique encounter that will never be repeated in the same way again. We think this word fits nicely to describe handmade ceramics. When you see them, you'll notice that traces of handicrafts are everywhere, which are not found in any mechanically made ceramics. The difference in colour and shape of each ceramic is something that we want to cherish as a unique feature. And it is a great pleasure to enjoy the aging of the ceramics. 
We hope you will find your "Ichigo-Ichie" ceramic at our store and enjoy it for many years to come.

See Our Collection of Handmade Ceramics