Ceramike - Background Information

Tomoo Hamada - Talk at the Leach Pottery, June 15th 2013

Leach Pottery - Large Z bowl David Leach willow tree plate Bernard Leach decorated brush pot

Tomoo Hamada with Koichiro Isaka


At the preview of his exhibition at the Leach Pottery, Tomoo Hamada gave an illustrated talk on the restoration of the Hamada pottery in Mashiko, Japan following extensive damage in the 2011 earthquake. Koichiro Isaka, the owner of Gallery St. Ives in Toyko acted as an interpreter for Tomoo.

The Hamada complex which has a number of buildings and kilns was fully restored in March 2013 and all the pots featured in Tomoo's exhibition are from the restored kilns.

Tomoo uses two kilns. The climbing kiln, illustrated below, takes around 4,000 pots and is fired twice a year. The firing takes around 7 days. Tomoo also uses a smaller salt kiln which takes around 200 pots and is fired 4 times a year. Tomoo's grandfather Shoji learned about salt glazing on a visit to Germany and then introduced it to Japan.

There are around 400 potters in Mashiko and many, many kilns were damaged in the 2011 earthquake. Kilns usually last around 30 years so there were only 3 kiln builders in Mashiko whose expertise was in great demand.

Tomoo said that before the earthquake he put his best pieces on high shelves, now they go on the lowest shelves!


Hamada Climbing Kiln - Tomoo with Euan Craig

(Photo by John Dermer)

Hamada Museum

(Photo by John Dermer)


Tomoo Hamada Exhibition
Tomoo Hamada Workshop