I realised a long held ambition today by visiting the Gallery St Ives in Tokyo, shown by the indominatable and generous Managing Director, Mr Koichiro Isaka. Koi is extremely well known and regarded both in Japan and the UK, and the gallery shows and sells excellent examples of contemporary British pottery. On this occasion I was particularly pleased to see a fine collection of slipwares by Clive Bowen, which has given me food for thought as I am preparing a catalogue essay on his work. One very fine large jug, with slip painting of great delicacy and finesse stood out.
We then travelled to the large and well laid out Kawasaki City Museum and met with the Director and senior curator and a specialist in prints and drawings.
The museum is preparing a major new exhibition focusing on Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada in 2020 and colleagues seemed very interested in my proposal to exhibit Leach's unpublished etchings, illustrated letters and life class drawings, to set his pots in the context of his facility with the pen, pencil and etching needle. We discovered that Kawasaki will be the host city for the UK team for the 2020 Olympic games, which seemed a good omen for this potential loan, in what seems to be a very comprehemsive exhibition.
To round off a memorable day, Koi drove us to see the family shrine of the Hamadas and the carved memorial stone to mark Hamada's death in the city of his birth in 1978. It is set modestly in a spur of land beside a road junction, without undue fuss or ceremony, yet a marker for a major ceramic artist, and one of Leach's closest friends and companions