Exploring the many forms of the sake flask, ‘tokkuri’

Highly satisfying to create vessels and forms outside of one’s comfort zone; it’s challenging and you don’t necessarily end up with what you planned. Honestly, that’s what I love most about working with clay. So, when my friend requested a sake set after a night out in Carlsbad, CA, filled with a indulgent amount of sake, I couldn’t resist exploring the uncharted form. Note, apparently it is a ritual in the consumption of sake to never let your friend’s cup go dry…don’t worry, we didn’t 🙂


A sake set is comprised of a flask, known as a Tokkuri – typically 150-360ml in size – accompanied by Ochoko or Guinomi (slightly larger) cups for drinking. When exploring new forms, I enjoy sketching out various shapes to inspire me while at the wheel.

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This first piece was inspired by the Henko shape which features a bulbous body and small foot. The exposed raw, chocolate brown clay not only adds texture when pouring but also a contrast with the speckled matte white glaze. The accompanying cups mirror the same combination of white over black glaze, however turn out slightly different in appearance – a result of location within the kiln during firing, size, and thickness. An fun take on the toasted marshmallow inherent to evenings around the campfire.

This sake set is best used for drinking sake – and a lot of it! I was happy to share this creation with my sake-guzzlin’ friend as a wedding present.


Glaze: Ida’s White over Super Black

Clay Body: Black Mountain

Size (volume): Tokkuri, 6oz; Ochoko, 1.5oz

Created: August 2016

This second piece was an accident! While throwing ‘off-the-hump’* the tokkuri collapsed on itself. In my early years as a potter, any deviation to what shape I was set out to make I saw as a failure. However, over the years (yes, it took years) I’ve embraced the ‘wabi-sabi’ perspective: the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature.  The recycle clay body folds of the tokkuri excellently capture the variation in the carbon-trapping and bright orange shino glaze. The two accompanying ochoko are flared, easy to pick up and also enhancing the flow of sake onto the palate.

*Throwing ‘off-the-hump’ refers to the process of creating many small vessels from one large ‘hump’ of clay in an effort to minimize the need and time associated with centering clay over and over again.

This sake set is best used for drinking sake, either individually or with a partner.


Glaze: Shogun Shino, carbon trapping (my favorite glaze!)

Clay Body: Recycle

Size (volume): Tokkuri, 4oz; Ochoko, 1.5oz

Created: Spring 2016


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