Characteristics of Earthware

01.Design Story

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Design Story

Earthware design can be described as rustic, because it is produced using nothing but clay with no additional glaze*, which is similar to glass coating on a surface. Each piece of earthware represents clay in its purest form.

Naturally, earthware features earthy colors such as brown and beige undertones with a touch of orange-hue gradation. There is not a single piece of identical earthware—each is truly unique in its size, weight and color—because each is sculpted entirely by hand, relying on flames generated by firewood for its patterns.

The minute roughness found on the plain surface indicates the slow firing process each piece has gone through during its production. With continued daily use over an extended period of time, that will disappear, creating a surface that feels smooth to the touch.

Whichever aspect you look at, be it the color, shape or weight, you can appreciate the unique features of earthware. It really is a gift from the Earth.

*Glaze: Glaze is a liquid produced by suspending clay and ash in water. It is a chemical used to coat the surface of pottery during production.

02.Heritage and Craftsmanship Story

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Heritage and Craftsmanship

While earthware, the origin of which dates back over 1,000 years, was once common across Japan, to this day few pieces are produced using only clay. The tradition was abandoned in many production areas because earthware made from ordinary clay cracks easily if you simply place it in a kiln for the firing process. The clay used in this area is truly one of a kind because it helps to contract the earthware during the slow firing process as the temperature is gradually increased.

This particular clay is collected from strata that dates back over 5,000 to 10,000 years, found a few meters below the rice paddies. Japanese people get not only rice serving as a staple food but also ingredients as living tools from rice paddies. Especially this area has been known for its rich nature since ancient times, and the land has been continuously used for farming. The unrivaled quality is the reason why it is still used as material when producing earthware in this area.

Today, artisans, the masters of craftsmanship through hard work who are captivated by the beauty of earthware, are here to produce new designs using traditional methods

03.Effect of Earthware

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Effect of Earthware

Without a coating such as glaze, which would provide earthware with a tougher surface, it is not as durable and thin as other types of pottery. However, the roughness found on the surface, characteristic of earthware, helps to create air bubbles when it comes into contact with liquid.

For example, if used as a beer mug, the rough surface helps to create the frothy head, while if used as a coffee cup, it helps to enhance its aroma. It is also believed that the components of the clay penetrate the water in a vase help keep it clean, allowing people to enjoy cut flowers longer.

Thanks to its material, earthware allows people to enjoy the power of nature, unseen in any other pottery.

In today’s modern way of living, people may not have many opportunities to come into actual contact with soil. This is precisely why we strongly believe earthware can be used to accentuate a dining table and work desk.
We are sure Japanese earthware, developed throughout its long history, yet with an air of modern sophistication will naturally enrich people’s lives.

01. Design Story

Design Story

Earthware design can be described as rustic, because it is produced using nothing but clay with no additional glaze*, which is similar to glass coating on a surface. Each piece of earthware represents clay in its purest form.

Naturally, earthware features earthy colors such as brown and beige undertones with a touch of orange-hue gradation. There is not a single piece of identical earthware—each is truly unique in its size, weight and color—because each is sculpted entirely by hand, relying on flames generated by firewood for its patterns.

The minute roughness found on the plain surface indicates the slow firing process each piece has gone through during its production. With continued daily use over an extended period of time, that will disappear, creating a surface that feels smooth to the touch.

Whichever aspect you look at, be it the color, shape or weight, you can appreciate the unique features of earthware. It really is a gift from the Earth.

*Glaze: Glaze is a liquid produced by suspending clay and ash in water. It is a chemical used to coat the surface of pottery during production.

02. Heritage and Craftsmanship Story

Heritage and Craftsmanship

While earthware, the origin of which dates back over 1,000 years, was once common across Japan, to this day few pieces are produced using only clay. The tradition was abandoned in many production areas because earthware made from ordinary clay cracks easily if you simply place it in a kiln for the firing process. The clay used in this area is truly one of a kind because it helps to contract the earthware during the slow firing process as the temperature is gradually increased.

This particular clay is collected from strata that dates back over 5,000 to 10,000 years, found a few meters below the rice paddies. Japanese people get not only rice serving as a staple food but also ingredients as living tools from rice paddies. Especially this area has been known for its rich nature since ancient times, and the land has been continuously used for farming. The unrivaled quality is the reason why it is still used as material when producing earthware in this area.

Today, artisans, the masters of craftsmanship through hard work who are captivated by the beauty of earthware, are here to produce new designs using traditional methods

03. Effect of Earthware

Effect of Earthware

Without a coating such as glaze, which would provide earthware with a tougher surface, it is not as durable and thin as other types of pottery. However, the roughness found on the surface, characteristic of earthware, helps to create air bubbles when it comes into contact with liquid.

For example, if used as a beer mug, the rough surface helps to create the frothy head, while if used as a coffee cup, it helps to enhance its aroma. It is also believed that the components of the clay penetrate the water in a vase help keep it clean, allowing people to enjoy cut flowers longer.

Thanks to its material, earthware allows people to enjoy the power of nature, unseen in any other pottery.

In today’s modern way of living, people may not have many opportunities to come into actual contact with soil. This is precisely why we strongly believe earthware can be used to accentuate a dining table and work desk.
We are sure Japanese earthware, developed throughout its long history, yet with an air of modern sophistication will naturally enrich people’s lives.

Featured Products

Natural Way of Living

01.Eco-friendly Products

The global environment has been destroyed in many ways due to the global economic growth that has progressed since the 20th century. The more people have tried to improve their standard of living, the more they have exploited nature. Over a decade has passed since the turn of the 21st century, and people now realize that improving their standard of living does not necessarily have to involve the exploitation of nature. They can consider the global environment.

One way to co-exist with nature is to pursue a more natural way of living. In other words, changing our consumption style by selecting products that are eco-friendly. In developed countries, eco-friendly ways of living that allow people to look back at the workings of nature has begun to attract attention. Their mottos in leading a more natural lifestyle are “optimization rather than maximization,” “organic rather than chemical fertilizers” and “handicrafts rather than industrial products.”

02.Finiteness and Sustainability

Every single natural resource is limited, including diamonds and rare earth materials. The petroleum that helps to improve our standard of living is no exception. We have come to realize that nuclear energy is beyond our control, and people around the world are being forced to discover sources of alternative energy.

We must never forget these facts. The only lesson we must learn from environmental pollution is Not to be Overly Dependent on One Resource. In order to create a sustainable society, we must ensure the balanced use of a wide range of resources

03.Standards in the 21st Century

We are forced to live intelligently to realize a prosperous coexistence amid globalization, which enables the instant transfer of persons, things, money, and information from one place to other.

Our method of consumption reflects how free we have become. We can now purchase online any product that is sold around the globe. Purchasing items of your own free will indicates that you are able to exercise the power of choice.
Thanks to the internet, we can easily learn the intention behind each product. This also allows consumers in the modern era that embrace eco-friendly products to actively support like-minded businesses.

We are confident that selecting products offered by manufacturers that value natural ways of living will be considered smart in the near future. In other words, the day when a natural way of living becomes the new standard is coming soon.

Our Story

Design Community

BIEN specializes in earthware and is a venture business that was established in 2016 with a view to sustaining the industry and community in a small rural area in Japan.

In our modern society, businesses with large profits are those that have a great impact on society. Such businesses tend to steer clear of inefficient projects (in which cost effectiveness is hard to predict). It is true that they cannot maintain their businesses and will eventually go out of business, unless they recoup their investment within a short period of time. However, this does not apply to rural communities where a wide range of people choose to live together. It is absolutely essential to stop businesses in rural communities from disappearing.

It was our conviction to establish a social business based on new value in order to effectively and simultaneously utilize the theory of capital and theory of community. It is our mission to introduce new designs that originate from a community, and expose traditional handicrafts to the global market by applying an effective marketing strategy (creating sales mechanisms). We are determined to make people around the world aware of the attractiveness of community businesses.

Design Community

Going Beyond Fair Trade

We seek to expand the horizons of small businesses through the development of community businesses. As Thomas Piketty has argued, disparities will only increase under capitalism. We must start to debate equity again if we are to reach the next stage beyond capitalism, which appears to be our only option if we wish to create a brighter future in the 21st century.

As general citizens, how should we oppose modern ideology? We believe that the key may be found in rural communities where small businesses thrive and nurture their versatility, not in systems that benefit only the wealthy few.
Encourage small business by seeking fairness of the next generation.

Going Beyond Fair Trade

BIEN Co.Ltd.

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1389-2 Imbe Bizen
Okayama Japan
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