The clay is dug from the mountain in Seto, at one point in time, by hand. It is them taken to the company where the chunks are broken down and rocks are taken out. There were huge mixing machines and tubes to run the liquid mixture through, a giant mesh to collect the rocks, and a device that cuts many pieces of clay into slabs to stack and ship. They are a small company ran by the owner and maybe a couple part time employees or volunteers. Sensei gets his clay from him as well as China and Malaysia importing 80 tons of clay from this company (whoa!!!). It was fun to see the process and ask questions. The owner was very friendly and was glad we came to visit.
Going back to lunch for a second, it was amazing!!! Sensei and I ordered bento boxes from the place down the street and the food was spectacular. I knew I would be trying all kinds of new things when I got here, and I was a little nervous I wouldn't like a lot of it, but I really haven't had anything I haven't liked. I have had a very happy tummy these last several days.
I am learning so much, not only about ceramics and how I want to set up my studio and business, but about Japanese tradition and manors, about other parts of the world and other artists, and a lot about myself. I strongly encourage anyone and everyone to do something like this, you won't regret it! Sending my best to you!