Japanese, b.1894, d.1978
The term mingei – meaning folk art – was coined in 1926 by ceramicist Yanagi Soetsu (1889–1961) to refer to handcrafts that had been eclipsed by the industrial revolution. Yanagi, Shoji Hamada and English potter, Bernard Leach (1887–1979) all worked to counter the impact of mass-production by revaluing the human touch and gesture, evident in this beautifully crafted bottle. Working in Mashiko, a Japanese folk-craft village, Hamada used local clay upon which he applied traditional glazes. Hamada and Leach visited New Zealand during the 1960s and 1970s, contributing to a local taste for modest and earthy studio ceramics.
(Brought to Light, November 2009)