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
Tomoo uses two kilns. The climbing kiln,
illustrated below, takes around 4,000 pots and is fired twice
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!