14 March 2019

mashiko pottery and crazing

This Spring we've chosen to expand our collection of Mashiko pottery. It's incredibly special, but as such, it comes with its own personality and we thought it might be a good idea to discuss it a bit. The pottery begins one way and with use, ends up another way. It's part of a larger discussion about how we live with the objects around us. How they age and evolve--just like us.

Mashiko pottery is made in the town of Mashiko in Tochigi, Japan where its historical origins date back to the Edo period (late 1800's). This area is renown for the master potter Shoji Hamada, the use of its local clay, and for its specific glaze colors. The pottery is crafted from the original thick, coarse consistency of the town's native soil and is not combined with any other types of raw material.  These organic conditions are what give this ware a warm and rustic feel that is unique to 'Mashiko-yaki'.  This contemporary Mashiko line is produced under the direction of designer, Takuhiro Shinomoto. Production is still committed to using the locally-sourced materials for all of its components and will yield subtle variations in color and glaze crazing.

Glaze crazing, which is the network of lines that run across the glazed surface, can/will occur on these products and may increase over time.  These lines are formed naturally on the surface and are typical traits of glazed earthenware, especially with Mashiko-yaki.  People in Japan expect their Mashiko pieces to craze.  It's a desirable feature that is viewed as a 'good thing' and the sooner, the better. 

We have provided an example of crazing here in the photos so you can make an informed decision on whether or not this product trait is 'desirable' to you. We do have an example in our shop too. If you prefer your pottery to remain one way, unchanged, or pristine, Mashiko-yaki is not for you. But, we hope you might be open to learn about it and maybe one day, you'll enjoy your cup of tea out of one its mugs.