Sachiko Torok creates her pottery in her Bizen studio.  Special mountain clay is added to the pieces to enhance the color when fired.  Bizen pottery is stoneware, which is made without a glaze.  The color derives from the clay itself, wood ash and rice straw ash as they are transformed during the week-long firing process. 


The kiln gradually reaches a temperature of 1260 degrees centigrade.  The pieces inside become an incandescent white, often altering in shape from the heat.  This, along with the effects of the clay and ash, are reasons why Bizen pottery is so prized in Japan.  This pottery embodies the Japanese aesthetic of "wabi"  which roughly translates to mean 'harmony with nature'.


Ten days after the firing the pots are unearthed from the kiln.  They are black with ash and covered in a coarse layer of grit.  They are cleaned, sanded and polished by hand.  This kiln holds about two thousand pots of varying sizes, one year of the artist's work.  When not making, firing or exhibiting her work, Sachiko Torok writes.  She has published several collections of haiku poetry and is currently working on a book about the history of Bizen pottery.