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Part of being a potter is establishing a lifestyle that’s quite unlike the normal 9-5 job. Reading about how others have gone about the profession provides insights into our own decisions and can help us find our own way. Shoji Hamada is famous for being one of the first artist-potters in the 20th century, and together with Bernard Leach blazed a trail for us to follow. How did he do it? In this seminal book by renowned ceramic arts and writer Susan Peterson, you’ll discover why Shoji Hamada’s influence was so monumental not only in Japan but throughout the Western World. Susan takes us into Hamada’s home and studio for an insightful visit that’s sure to inspire.

Hardcover | 240 Pages
Order code CA34 | ISBN 978-1-57498-198-8

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Opposing the Industrial Revolution

In the early 1920s Hamada and Leach conceived the notion of a single individual in his own shop making pottery by hand, alone or with apprentices or employees, which in those days was a quite new concept. About the same time in England, the ideas of William Morris were revitalizing handcraft as an individual profession in opposition to the Industrial Revolution. Thus the stage was set internationally for the development of studio pottery. Hamada in the East and Leach in the West,emulated an untutored peasant’s devotion to functional handcrafts and influenced the lifestyle and way of working for generations of artist-potters.

   

I have only thrown one clay bowl on a potter’s wheel in my life, but I refer back to this book every few months 

or so to remind myself of the sheer poetry of discipline and craftsmanship.—Amazon

 

 
The bare essentials
If you think that the most famous potter in the world had every convenience, think again. Here is how Susan Peterson, who documents Shoji Hamada’s life and work relates just one example. “Autumn and winter are cold and the water in [Hamada's] workshop is always cold except when heated on the fire. Outside is a trough where bamboo screens are washed. Next tot the shop the large barrels of glazes are sometimes iced over on top. Inside the air is cold and damp from the wetness of the clay and the use of water, but also because there is no heat and the shoji (partitions) are paper. Bare electric light bulbs hang over the work areas, racks for plaster mold storage cover the walls, and shelves storing greenware are suspended from the smoke-blackened bamboo rafters. No space is wasted. The room is small for the amount of work they are doing, yet the feeling is open and movement is easy.”

 

 

I have already used some the the techniques illustrated in the book and enjoy the pictures as well.

Thanks for offering this book. You have made this potter very happy indeed!—Amazon 

   

An inside look
Most books on Hamada discuss only the legacy and show his work, but Susan Peterson spent months staying at the Hamda pottery and covers his lifestyle and potterymaking indepth. She describes the clay making process, wheels, throwing pots, the workers, the household, finishing pots enamel overglaze painting and bisque firings. She then discusses techniques such as mixing the glaze, making and trimmming tea ceremony bowls, glazing, firing and more. Peterson doesn’t describe the step-by-step techniques of Hamada’s as much as she tells the wonderful story of him going about his day in the studio. Her descriptions of the pottery, the workers and the village will give you a sense of the whole pottery experience that only a potter like Susan Peterson can relate. 
Whether you’re new to pottery or an old hand, you’ll find the story of Shoji Hamada both remarkable and inspiring.

 

Original List Price $59.95

Purchase Book $29.95

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I have only thrown one clay bowl on a potter’s wheel in my life, but I refer back to this book every few months
“or so to remind myself of the sheer poetry of discipline and craftsmanship.—Amazon
 

A must for everyone

Shoji Hamada: A Potter’s Way and Work is an ebullient, fascinating portrait of a great potter, tracing his place in the ceramic tradition and revealing a keen perception of his energetic life style, his dazzling work cycle, and intriguing specifics about the firing of his kilns. Along with Bernard Leach, Shoji Hamada was one of the key figures in the development of studio pottery in the 20th century, resurrecting the craft after its near demise during the Industrial Revolution. His influence both in England and the U.S., as well as in his native Japan, cannot be underestimated. Shoji Hamada is inspirational to anyone seeking to set off on a career as a studio potter, and this book is a must for anyone interested in the evolution of hand pottery and the dynamics of ceramics in general.

 


 

 
Shoji Hamada was one of the seminal figures in 20th-century ceramics. Along with British potter Bernard Leach, he was instrumental in the development of the studio pottery movement, resurrecting the craft after its near demise during the Industrial Revolution. In this redesigned and updated version of her classic book, Susan Peterson traces Hamada’s place in the ceramics tradition and reveals a keen perception of his lifestyle, his work cycle and specifics about the firing of his kilns. In a completely new chapter, she assesses Hamada’s ongoing legacy to the world of studio pottery.

 

Hamada’s life was concentrated toward the perpetuation and achievement of fundamental, unchanging and universal values and goals,” Peterson states. “There are professionals and students following his way, some without knowing that he led the way, and others who continue to search for the way he has proven. . . . His pots embody the truth as he saw it and by example he showed us a way of living and working that were wound into one, where every detail was part of an integrated whole. Astonishingly, his lessons are more alive and meaningful today than they were in his lifetime.
—Ceramics Monthly