YOUR BEST CHOICE FOR JAPANESE GREEN TEA
Tradition with a Modern Identity
The granddaughter of Nakazato Tarouemon XII, Hanako originally wanted to be a professional athlete, not a potter. Her path to Japanese ceramics began when this dream was dashed, beginning the negotiation of individual style and heritage that would be expressed through her artistic life.
Hanako spent much of her youth in America before returning to Japan, where she became an apprentice at the Ryutagama Kiln under her father, internationally acclaimed potter Takahashi Nakazato, the fifth son of Nakazato XII. Her apprenticeship was difficult, and she wasn’t convinced she’d make it as a ceramic artist. However, her athletic concentration and swiftness turned out to be exceptional when applied to the demands of the fast potter’s wheel used for Karatsu ceramics.
Her time in both countries is reflected in her works, monohanako, which blend Karatsu tradition with an elegant, modern shape. She says that it took some distance to fully understand her father’s instruction, and thus her style and individual creations flourished from the back and forth in America and in Japan.
Her cross-cultural experience has extended to the present, where she spends half a year in her ancestral home in Karatsu and half in her workshop in Maine. Of her unique working situation, she says the different colours and nature in each location positively impact her work, making it a plus for her own development.
bIOGRAPHY & AWARDS
Biography of Nakazato Hanako
Hanako has studied under her father, as well as at the Smith College school of fine arts (USA), Royal Copenhagen (Denmark), and Anderson Ranch Art Centre (USA).
In 2000, she spent 5 years working with internationally-recognised American potter, Malcom Wright, who had also spent time learning from her grandfather. Her work has been shown in galleries in New York City, Kyoto, Tokyo, Kobe, and Fukuoka.
2000: Exhibitions in Japan and the US, beginning with a combined father-daughter exhibit and continuing in solo shows.
2007: Monohanako is built in Karatsu
2010: Monohako West is built in Maine
NAKAZATO hANAKO TEAWARE
A sensorial process
Hanako is influenced by her dual identities, as a Japanese woman in America and as an Americanized woman in Japan. She describes pottery process as sensorial, immediate but changeable, an often unintentional reflection of her current state. In interviews, her approach towards pottery reveals a balance between the interior world of the artist and the final product, revealing a deceptively simple shape that, much like the seasons, can change with use and with user.
“Tradition is something to learn from, not to copy,” she says. “Karatsu is not modern. I like the structure and bones [of Karatsu pottery]. It’s gutsy. The structure [of my work] is Karatsu, but in terms of surface and shapes, I’m interested in modernism, form and function. Scandinavian designs inspire me.”
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