Ceramics by Japanese Potter Hanako Nakazato


Earlier in the year I showcased the fantastic website named Cultivated Days, mainly highlighting the inspiring selection of food and lifestyle imagery on their blog. I love collecting this type of photography as it helps me greatly in my own work for the shop, you can often gain ideas on how to place different objects and what foods to use when photographing. I really want to capture the essence of the item, such as a bowl or a cup, and show how it can be used in everyday life under natural lighting. Studio lights just don’t cut it in my opinion.

Owner Prairie Stuart-Wolff does a fantastic job with the photography and I’m always intrigued by her affiliations, so I watch the website intently to see if I can get inspired by like minded individuals. One of their newer features with bonsai artist Takuya Shimazu really made a mark, and highlighted some interesting facts on bonsai that I never knew before. It also led me to the works of maker Hanako Nakazato, a 14th generation potter from Japan. Interestingly every 6 months Hanako Nakazato and Prairie Stuart-Wolff pack up and take off, going back and forth between Maine, USA and Kyushu, Japan. Their blog Cypress & Birch documents some of their ongoings, as you can imagine with all that travel it’s definitely worth a bookmark.

On the site they showed Takuya Shimazu using Hanako Nakazato’s pots in a unique and unusual way, presenting his bonsai and plants inside the vessels. So I thought I’d present a few of these today and talk about Hanako Nakazato’s ceramics, which are absolutely superb. Her techniques and philosophy are rooted in the ceramic traditions of Karatsu, Japan. She went through many years of tough apprenticeship under her father, renowned potter Takashi Nakazato, and also Malcolm Wright in Vermont, a student of Tarouemon Nakazato XII, Hanako’s grandfather who was designated as a living national treasure by the Japanese government in 1976.

What I find nice is that all the years spent in the West has really influenced her shapes and surfaces, but at the same time she draws form her traditional background and uses this combination to push her pottery to a whole new level. As I said above she currently divides her time between studios in Japan and Maine, so she has constant inspiration form both sides of the world. Hopefully you like this imagery here, which features her pots in use, and will go over to her website to see more. I’d also recommend reading through an article on studio KotoKoto, as you can see pictures of her making and finishing the pots in her studio. Enjoy.









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