Tatsuzo Shimaoka and Warren MacKenzie


MacKenzie, Shimaoka, Hamada and a “Bunchong” Dish.

August 17, 2015 at 9:38 AM

Saturday, at his Pots In The Grass sale. I had the opportunity to remind Warren of an event from about 12 years ago in Mashiko, Japan.  I said to Warren, “You might not remember it.  I do, because when I got home, I wrote it down.”  

Tatsuzo Shimaoka and Warren MacKenzie

Tatsuzo Shimaoka and Warren MacKenzie Warren and Nancy MacKenzie visited Mashiko in 2002, in the middle of my 3 year apprenticeship with National Living Treasure, Tatsuzo Shimaoka.  Warren was visiting during the opening of Soetsu Yanagi’s house across the street from the Mingei Museum, which celebrated with a show of MacKenzie’s, David Leach’s, Sori Yanagi and Shimaoka’s work in the Yanagi House.

Korean Buncheong  Dish in Hamada Museum

Korean Buncheong Dish in Hamada MuseumOne of the things I had the good fortune to do, was follow Shimaoka and Warren, as Shimaoka gave Warren a tour of the Hamada Museum.  (Warren nodded in appreciation when I mentioned this.  He did remember the tour.) I heard details about the many objects there that you wouldn’t know about, just walking through the museum by yourself.   When we got to this Korean Choson Buncheong dish behind the glass (pictured at the right), Shimaoka stopped and said to MacKenzie:    “I have a dish just like this.  Many years ago, while Hamada was alive, I had him come see the dish.  When I unpacked it, Hamada smiled and said to me:’I have a dish just like this, but an expert told me it is a fake.'”After a pause, Hamada told Shimaoka,  “But I don’t care…. Because I cannot tell the difference.”  This point struck home with me.  For the creative person, collecting isn’t a part of acquisitiveness.  It is about the maker’s education.

Warren following Shimaoka through the Hamada workshop grounds.

Warren following Shimaoka through the Hamada workshop grounds.One of the important qualities of Hamada’s collection at his museum, is that while few pieces are “museum perfect”, they were all chosen by Hamada for his own education and inspiration.   There is a warmth about his collection that is not often seen in other museums.   <I’ll add to this later.  Jean says it is time for breakfast on the patio. We are having a cool snap!>  When I saw this image, walking up the stairs behind them, it made me think of the famous photo by Eugene Smith, of the children walking out of a leafy tunnel, into the sun.  From the tunnel of life…..

Photo by W. Eugene Smith 'Walk to Paradise Garden" Made while he was recovering from WWII wounds.

Photo by W. Eugene Smith ‘Walk to Paradise Garden” Made while he was recovering from WWII wounds.