I am firing a bisque today, which somehow got me thinking about an internet friend of mine who is on his way to Japan in a couple of weeks on business in Tokyo. Once that is concluded, he and his wife are going off to Mashiko. Like a moth to a flame, most potters and pottery collectors are inexplicably drawn to Mashiko where Hamada Shoji, Sakuma Totaro, Murata Gen, Shimaoka Tatsuzo and many others have worked, creating pottery based on tenants of the folk craft movement. Like many before me, a visit to Mashiko was part of our treks to Japan back in the early 1990s. Seeing the wellspring of what many westerners were pursuing since the 1960s was rather inspiring and made its way into the work that I would create over the next two decades. I think in reality, it is nearly impossible to go to Mashiko without bringing some of it home with you.
Once back from a Mashiko adventure, I began to focus on creating my own glazes that had that Mashiko feel to them, though I was determined to make pots that were meaningful to me and not intended as copies. In essence, I would add the exposure of the Mashiko aesthetic into the blender and see what came out. Over the years I have gone back to that style to add to the vocabulary of my pots, though influenced by that trip, they are decidedly not Mashiko style pottery. Illustrated is a bamboo form teabowl with a iron red over a clear glaze on stoneware. I stamped cobalt/red iron triangles over the clear, waxed them off and then glazed the bowl in the iron red to create a piece that though it pays homage to Mashiko-yaki, is a thoroughly western pot.
"I am a part of all that I have met." Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)