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On the weekend of September 12th, we decided since we had time on our hands to go do something we’ve been wanting to for awhile: make kawara. Kawara are the famous roof tiles of the region, but they aren’t just plain slates. Using the clay, you can make oni-gawara (demon tiles) that go on the edges of the roof to protect the house, as well as name plates with kanji and round crest kawara.

Unfortunately, we drove all the way up for them to tell us that they only do Kawara on Sundays, so we had to come back the next day. But we did enjoy the drive, and a nice waterfall we found as well!

The waterfall, wonderfully cold and pretty!

And 2 more

Driving around can be thirsty work! Are you a tiny beer person or a giant beer person?!

So anyway, back we went the next day! Now, Kenji being half Japanese, he has a family name and a crest… but I wasn’t about to bother putting MY last name on a kawara, so I decided to do Kenji’s family crest while he did his Kanji name. I think I’m going to have to go do another one, it was really fun!

Another person already gotten started as we waited for ours to be prepared, and looking at some examples while we wait. I think next time I’ll attempt Fujioka’s crest, wisteria.

Tracing the design

And cutting off the excess clay

Then it was my turn! You start by digging a blade into the design about 1cm

Then when you’ve done that, the clay kinda gets popped out, which is pretty easy.

Then you clean it up and do any details and smaller works, and voila! Ready to heat!

Then Kenji’s:

Drawing on the kanji

And a video of that, because it was pretty darn cool

Knocking out the excess clay…

And cleaning it up!

And the finished products, unbaked! We still haven’t gotten them, since they do firings about once a month, but as soon as we get them I will post pictures! And hopefully not a month later either…