[Clayart] Hamada part 2

Hank Murrow hmurrow at efn.org
Sat Apr 29 14:05:52 UTC 2023

Dear Mel;

I was not lucky enough to experience Hamada in his own Machiko milieu, but I did share 
lunch with him and Shinsaku and Jane Heald most days, and found him generous and especially 
voluble after one or two Dos Equis. His stories always had a point, and when he came to 
visit the Charles Eames studio in Venice CA, he aso visited The PotShop, which Jane Heald 
and I built and ran with 64 members for three years from 1961 to 1964, when we sold it and 
I returned to the U.of Oregon to pursue an MFA, graduating in 1967. Then I went to Baja 
California to build a large oil-fired kiln in La Paz for El Centro de Arte, before leaving after 
successful firings, to interview for a job at Ohio U. with George Kokis. He soon followed me 
back to Eugene, Oregon to teach with Bob James there for the remainder of his academic career.
George and Bob are both gone now, and I am 84, still firing my lifting fiberkiln and enjoying Tea 
with friends here in Eugene.

Cheers, Hank

> On Apr 28, 2023, at 9:48 AM, mel jacobson <melpots at mail.com> wrote:
> I was a very lucky boy. Mr. Uchida arranged for me to have a solo
> exhibit at Matsuya gallery, Ginza, Tokyo. One of the best galleries
> in the world. I did not earn it, it was a gift.
> He had a professional gallery business pick up the pots in Kyoto, and they
> hung the show in Tokyo. I just watched. His favorite flower arranging Guru
> and the top of the biggest flower school in Japan. (Pyramid scheme) did the
> flowers for the opening.
> Mr. Hamada's show was being taken down, as mine went up. I met him that day.
> I greeted him in the Japanese manner. No English spoken. But, one has to realize
> that the show gave me extreme standing. I was upper class now. I had about 50 pots
> that I had made in America. He laughed and said one word. "MING-GAY' I said, MacKenzie.
> He nodded
> The next time we were in Tokyo for a show of Uchida pots he said to me.."Melsan, why don't
> you take the train to Hamadas pottery. I will call him."
> I said to him, I will ask the dual language woman gallery secretary to guide me. "Make sure
> I do everything right." We asked her to call her father for permission. All ok.
> She ordered the train tickets, and brought very nice rolls for a gift at their door.
> We left at 8 a.m. Arrived at Mosh Ko by 11 a.m. We walked to his gate, and froze. I had
> a camera bag. I told the young woman.."I cannot go in the house with a camera!!! it is not
> proper." I hid the camera, and my personal bag behind a tree. Mr. Hamada was sitting on the
> porch in a Charles Eams chair. He disappeared. Mrs Hamada greeted us, took the rolls, asked
> us in. We sat in the kitchen. We spoke only Japanese. He breezed in, all greetings were formal
> Japanese. He spoke with praise about Uchida. It got silent.
> He then looked at me, said in perfect brit English "Nice touch with the pretty girl and speaking
> Japanese, classy.(he winked) He said his wife picked up my camera and has it safe. He then said, "you might as
> well plan on being here the entire day, the girl can help my wife with lunch." As this was happening a mini bus
> came into the yard. He said "baka" (swear word) and went outside. Strob lights flashed. people lined up for
> pix. He then in a gruff voice..."NO PICTURES" AND STORMED BACK INSIDE. His wife went out and soothed things over.
> It was his agent with new customers. I was in for a day with him, alone, just the two of use. Ask any questions.
> "You are a fine potter" he said. He went back after the show was up and was impressed that I showed 25 paintings
> along with pots. I was stunned.
> Doing a bit of research, asked questions of others about how to deal with famous people opened
> all the doors. "Perfect polite, keep mouth shut, be humble, speak their language. It is all about
> respect. It became perfection.
> part 3 later.  mel
> website: www.melpots.com
> www.melpots.com/CLAYART.HTML

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