Clay Craft

Sunday, August 09, 2009

From Ann Holme's The Transition Of The Artisan-Potter To The Artist-Potter In Mashiko, A Folkware Kiln Site In Japan.

In 1924, Hamada held his first one-man exhibition at the Kyukiodo Gallery in Tokyo. It was a sell-out, shocking the Mashiko potters who had not taken his work seriously up to that time. They were astonished at the high prices asked by Hamada, and even more so, that the work actually sold. Gradually, the Mashiko potters began to take pride in the recognition Hamada received from the public and the honor conferred upon the town, which was brought out of its former obscurity by being acknowledged as the home of the famous Shoji Hamada.
In his early pottery, Hamada tried to adapt old Mashiko folkware designs and forms. His extensive knowledge of the Chinese Sung pottery and Korean Silla and Yuan pottery served as a resource for his own developing style. The pottery he made when he first came to Mashiko bore little if any resemblance to the native Mashiko kitchenware and tableware, yet it was compatible with the folk pottery genre. Hamada was able to bring out the best qualities from past and present folkware, imparting his aesthetic awareness to an age-old tradition. He researched glazes and design from the history of Oriental ceramics and rediscovered old techniques which he adapted to contemporary folkware.

As Hamada investigated these elements from the past, another dimension came into his work. He was no longer a researcher but an artist-potter who consciously directed the outcome of his pottery. Although his approach was eclectic, his experimentation and manipulation of the Oriental techniques imparted a freshness and vision to folk pottery which had formerly been a tradition of skilled technicians. He was a known potter working in the tradition of the unknown potter. The unpretentious beauty of everyday pottery turned out by artisans with an instinctive feeling for function and simplicity of form was revived by Hamada as an aesthetic for the new artist-potter.
(Lee's note: The bottle is a Chinese shape, the sugar cane decoration is from Okinawa and so is the enamel decoration.)

Labels: ,