Featured Artist of the Week- Shōji Hamada

Shōji Hamada was a Japanese potter born in Mizonokuchi, Kanagawa Prefecture in 1894. He had a significant influence on studio pottery in the 20th century and was a major part of the mingei movement. Hamada attended the Tokyo Institute of Technology where he studied ceramics and eventually set up his workshop in Mashiko, which he established as a world renowned pottery center. Hamada is internationally recognized as the classic “Oriental potter” and has his work in museums all over the world. His work is known for it’s simple use of materials and basic designs and was influenced by a variety of folk ceramics, such as English medieval pottery, Korean pottery, and Okinawan stonewares. Mingei (or “folk arts”) was a Japanese folk art movement in the late 1920s and 1930s founded by Yanagi Sōetsu. Sōetsu believed that because of the industrialization taking place, the human touch and spirit was lost in the process of making everyday items. The idea behind mingei work was that it was hand crafted art of ordinary people. Those that participated in the movement believed that utilitarian objects made by common people were “beyond beauty and ugliness.” Criteria of mingei arts included that it was made by anonymous people, produced by hand, inexpensive, used by the masses, functional in daily life and representative of the regions in which they were produced. Because of his huge influence not only in Japan, but also the United States and the United Kingdom, the Japanese government declared Hamada a “Living National Treasure” in 1955. Even after his 1978 death, his work continues to be sought after by art collectors.

 

Pouring Vessel, Stoneware                                                        Lidded Bowl, Stoneware

                         

Not Titled, wax resist and overglaze enamels              Not Titled, glazed stoneware

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