Friday, October 7, 2011


I think back to stories from Warren Mackenzie, Bill Klock and Jeff Oestriech discussing the series, multiples of pots they were responsible for while at the Leach Pottery. I have heard this very same thing from a number of potters working with the likes of Hamada Shoji, Shimaoka Tatsuzo and many others. For some potteries, the multiples were the standard ware of the kiln, sometimes impressed with the masters’ seal, other times clearly defined as work of the kiln and not the master. For some potters, especially Hamada, Shimaoka and Kawai, there were a variety of molded pieces, henko, etc. made by the students or specialists which were then later decorated, marked or glazed by the master of the kiln.

I am unsure where I came by the illustrated picture, but it clearly shows Kawai Kanjiro surveying a large grouping of multiples in various stages of completion. To the left are a group of finished pots, most of which are molded forms with iron and clear glazes and various colored underglaze decoration. In the middle of the photo is a group of recently molded greenware pieces, ready to be bisque and then decorated and glazed. The group on the extreme right appears to be a group of bisque molded covered box forms ready to be decorated, glazed and then fired. I have always been fascinated by this photo as it shows Kawai’s multiples in each stage of completion and is one of the few photos of this type that I know of. I guess it is true; you can never have enough of a good thing!

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