The Easel

Archives: Beth Williamson

20th December 2022

Shōji Hamada: A Japanese Potter in Ditchling

Bernard Leach is acclaimed for helping revitalize British studio pottery.  He owed much to Hamada, who worked with Leach in rural England in the early 1920’s. Hamada contributed technical knowledge of kilns and glazes and a ‘wabi-sabi’ mindset – the philosophical acceptance of imperfection. Back in Japan he copied Leach’s idea of integrating surroundings and creativity by preferring local glazes and clay. In 1955, Hamada was the first craftsperson to be crowned a Japanese National Living Treasure.