MASHIKO Yaki (Pottery)
The distinctive Mashiko style of pottery developed sometime around the middle of the 19th century after coming under the influence of Kasama Yaki. In the early days, everyday articles were made with the support of the local clan and many of the pieces found their way into Edo era kitchens.
Shoji Hamada, who began work as an studio potter in 1924, influenced the potters living in Mashiko, and the tableware and flower vases being made there now have the recognizable stamp of Mashiko Yaki that so many people are familiar with. Today, using good quality Mashiko clay, dynamic pieces of pottery utilizing traditional techniques such as white cosmetic glaze dribble and brush mark slip decorations are being produced in large quantities.
Mashiko Yaki has many devoted fans with its gentle luster born from the union of glazing techniques and Mashiko clay, which is quite traditional. A wide variety of crockery is produced alongside items including flower vases by 320 firms employing 338 people. Among these are no fewer than 10 government-recognized Master Craftsmen whose work ensures the fame of Mashiko Yaki extends far beyond Japan.
Born from a union of traditional Mashiko clay and glazing techniques, Mashiko Yaki pottery has a soft, rustic luster.
How to make
The clay used for Mashiko Yaki pottery is shaped using a pottery wheel, a traditional mold or by hand molding. After the clay is shaped, it is decorated by brushing on white mud, creating a pattern that takes advantage of the contrast between the white mud and underlying brush marks on the clay, or by carving patterns using an s-shaped plane. Pictures are then painted using celadon blue, iron paints which can produce a color from black to brown, or copper paints. Mashiko Yaki pottery also uses a wide variety of glazes, including those made from as persimmons, straw ash, tree ash and a white glaze made from rice husk ash, which all impart a special character to the pottery.