Jun 15, 2007
Shoji Hamada was one of the greatest Potters not only in Japan but also in the UK (and the world) where he worked with Bernard Leach at St. Ives. There are more formal biographies ,especially one by Leach, but this book concentrates upon his work. It is a very accessible narrative about his way of working, his art and craft and tells in detail how he pots and works. At the same time as you feel the clay beneath your fingers you also begin to get to know the man and those around him. Peterson, herself a potter, slowly exposes the little details, the domestic life of a great man. Hamada was a great man both in his pottery and with his support and guidance for the Mingei movement. There is a deep, spiritual experience at work beneath the gentle descriptions of pots being glazed or a kiln being loaded.
If you already think you know something about pottery or any craft for that matter, this book will only add to your understanding. If you know of Hamada's work then this will underpin everything you already know. If you are curious to know how an artist works and lives then this is a wonderful introduction to the whole creative process.
The book is also lavishly illustrated, especially with photo-journalistic-like black and white pictures of the minutia of daily life and work.