Friday, June 08, 2007

Day 18 - Mashiko Part 1 - Pottery and craft heaven

When I start one of my travel blog posts, I go through the photos, choosing ones that will be good for the blog. I write the post in my head as I sort through them. After I went through today’s photos, I had 96 photos!!! Not even I would do a post with 96 photos, but I think that goes to show what an amazing place Mashiko is.

Mashiko is a small town about 2 hours drive north of Tokyo. It’s famous for its folk pottery made of clay (versus porcelain). It’s been a pottery town for many generations, but recently new artists have been coming and infusing their own designs while using traditional methods. Mashiko is definitely a unique place, not only in Japan, but in the world. Both Kinta and Miyuki are artists that have lived in Mashiko for 14 years, so it was amazing to get a tour from the two of them.

This was my second trip to Mashiko and my mom’s third trip. Each time we’ve stayed at the same pension, which not only is the nearest structure to Miyuki and Kinta’s house, but is one of the most interesting places I’ve stayed at, a pyramid for the public space but still felt very homey.

There are beautiful art pieces in every nook and corner – you could spend hours just looking at each piece.

Kinta and Souichi came by to greet us before breakfast. Rob and Souichi had hit it off famously the night before and Rob gave him his camera to take photos.

Great photo Souichi!

Kinta had made many pieces in the pension, and it became sort of a game to figure out which were Kinta pieces.

A Kinta Bench!

Souichi on a Kinta zebra.

The companion horse.

Kinta’s great table.

His welcome sign.

Miyuki’s textile art pieces were well represented as well, we even had one of her pieces in our room.

We had a beautiful breakfast.

Even though there was a light rain, we walked to Kinta’s studio, which is next to their house.

We drove over to the Mashiko Reference Collection, which is the house and workshop of Hamada Shoji, a very famous potter who helped make Mashiko the town it is today. It was a fascinating combination of seeing his kilns, workshop, and house, as well as his collection of art from around the world. Hamada felt that it didn’t matter how much art cost or how rare it was, it was how it spoke to you that mattered. This was a recurring theme on our trip, and one that I tried to keep in mind wherever we went.

We also took the opportunity to take some photos of each other.

The plants were beautiful too!

Afterwards, we managed to take a photo of Minori in the back of Miyuki’s jeep – we kept calling her the “baggage”.

We visited a few antique shops, then stopped by a friend’s pottery shop, where Huay and I started our pottery buying spree.

Kinta made this table that Rob absolutely loved.

Their friend (whose name escapes me!) also showed us her pottery making space that she now uses for yoga classes.

She also owns a cafe, where we had tea (and where Kinta had made most of the furniture.

Next - Architecture and fabric envy.


yaiAnn said...

That huge table! I want it! Can't wait to see the fabrics!

yumi said...

What beautiful artwork and pottery. See all the pictures, makes me want to travel to Japan.

Siew said...

What is that fabulous flowering plant below the maple photo? Its flowers look surreal. BTW - I've been loving your trip blog of Japan. I was in Japan in '98 (oh so long ago) and this makes me want to go back.

MinaG said...

What a beautiful place Mashiko is, hopefully one day our family can visit it, hopefully we don't make the tranquility too chaotic.