Master Potter’s Grandson Gifts Three Yunomis

Three Japanese tea bowls made by three generations of the Hamada pottery dynasty in Mashiko Japan have been acquired by Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft.

Tomoo Hamada, grandson of master potter Shoji Hamada presented the yunomis made by himself, his father Shinsaku Hamada and his grandfather ahead of the museum’s upcoming exhibition Shōji Hamada: A Japanese Potter in Ditchling, which opens on 22nd October.

The exhibition will explore how a young potter’s visit to a tiny village in East Sussex shaped the course of the craft movement in both Britain and Japan, focusing on the cultural exchange between the East and the West at this key moment in the emergence of the studio pottery movement.

Tomoo Hamada visited the museum following his two-week residency at Leach Pottery as part of the Leach100 celebrations. Today’s visit came one hundred years on from his grandfather, Shoji Hamada’s first visit to the village of Ditchling with his friend Bernard Leach from St Ives in Cornwall where they had just set up the pioneering pottery. Hamada spent three years living in England and a major theme of the exhibition will be his experience of the village of Ditchling and its resulting impact on his life and work.

The three new acquisitions will be displayed in the exhibition alongside 25 pieces by Shoji Hamada including rich tenmoku-glazed jugs, iron-brush decorated plates and intricate sgraffito etched jars. New work by Tomoo Hamada from his recent Leach Pottery residency will also be exhibited as well as early works created by Leach and other leading figures of the modern British 20th-century art, design and craft movement such as Ethel Mairet, Frances Hodgkins and William Staite Murray.

The yunomis were presented to the museum’s Curator Donna Steele, who said:

“We are incredibly honoured to receive this wonderful gift from Tomoo. It is a testament to a deep East-West relationship between Ditchling and Mashiko in Japan, begun by Tomoo’s grandfather, the great potter Shoji Hamada 100 years ago. The tea bowls will have pride of place in the exhibition, marking the related and individual styles of 3 generations of Hamada potters.”

Photos by Rosie Powell.