Shōji Hamada


Shōji Hamada

Shōji Hamada (December 9, 1894January 5, 1978) was a Japanese potter. He was a significant influence on studio pottery of the twentieth century, and a major figure of the "mingei" folk-art movement, establishing the town of Mashiko as a world-renowned pottery center.

Biography

Hamada was born in Mizonokuchi, Kanagawa Prefecture in 1894.

He studied ceramics at Tokyo Institute of Technology under Kawai Kanijirō. Soon after, he met Bernard Leach with whom he travelled to England in 1920. Having spent three years in St Ives with Bernard Leach he returned to Japan in 1923 and eventually situated his workshop in Mashiko, about 100 km north-east of Tokyo.

In 1955 the Japanese government designated him a "Living National Treasure".

Hamada died in Mashiko on January 5, 1978.

Influence

Throughout a lifetime dedicated to making pottery he achieved international recognition and his works have been collected by museums across the world. Hamada influence was felt not only in his native Japan, particularly in Mashiko, but also in the West. In the United Kingdom and the USA his style and philosophy became well known amongst studio potters, and he was revered as the archetypal ’Oriental’ potter. In 1955 he was designated a “Living National Treasure”.

Today Hamada’s works are greatly sought after and attain high prices at auction

Hamada is the subject of an out-of-print VHS video titled "Shoji Hamada--A Potter's Way & Work." It follows Hamada as he and his assistants throw, decorate and fire a large batch of pots on his seven-acre estate, in outdoor, wood-fired kilns. Japan-artist-stub


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