Mashiko Friday 12 Oct 2012

Mashiko-yaki (pottery) is a Japanese pottery which has been nationally designated as a traditional Japanese craft, born form the fusion of locally resourced Mashiko clay and the art of glazing.

In 1924, Living National Treasure Shiji Hamada began creating Mashiko-yaki, founded on the principles of the "Mingei (national art) movement", expressing the world of "living beauty" that exists in daily life. With this principle, the "Mashiko-yaki brand" became widely known not only in Japan but also in Britain and America. This ideology continues today and the work born from the various design developments are loved by people all around the world.

[Shoji Hamada and Britain] - working with Bernard Leach

In 1920, Shoji Hamada, the principle reviver of Mashiko-yaki, travelled with Bernard Leach to St. Ives in Britain and began to create work. The following year he worked with weaver and dyer Ethel Mairet and sculptor Eric Gill in Ditchling, which had a huge impact on his life.

The village while not far from London, was a calm and peaceful place where craftsmen and designers could live and work under their own inspiration in a healthy and free lifestyle. On the one hand Hamada could develop his work with many world class designers such as Charles Eames.

To create Mashiko Yaki pottery the following method is used: Create the shape using a potter's wheel, build form and turn the hand. When you have created the shape, make patterns; bring the white clay to life with brush strokes, and with Hakeme (brush mark) techniques for applying brush strokes, and by skilfully pouring the traditional Mashiko glaze using a ladle. Then use Gosu (absolute) to bring out blues, Tessa (iron sands) and Dou (copper) to bring out shades of brown to black to decorate the pottery. Mashiko-yaki also has many different types of glazes. Unique styles can be expressed using Kakiyu (persimmon glazes) and Koroyu (black glazes), which use Mashiko produced Ashinumaishi (Ashinuma stone) as their base, and Nukajiroyu (bran-white glazes) made from straw, wood and bran ash, and Seijiyu_(celadon glazes).