Beautiful, minimalist design defines the Hasami Porcelain collection. The blending of simplicity, beauty and functionality, allowing the pieces to be enjoyed everyday or on any occasion. Time honoured traditions 400 years in the making in the village of Hasami ensure each piece is as unique as the season or the many hands involved in creating each piece.
Time honoured traditionsIt is comforting that time honoured traditions of production are still used to make Hasami Porcelain. Made in the town of Hasami located in the Nagasaki prefecture of Japan, each product is passed onto different craftsmen in different parts of the village for each step of the production, contributing to the unique character of the finished product.
Each craftsman is skilled in their own specialised role, such as the mixing of soil and stone, the molding of the product, the glazing, and the maintenance of the kiln during the firing process. They each contribute in their own way to create a piece that is naturally different from all the rest. This organization of labor in the Hasami village has been passed down for generations since the beginning of the Edo period some 400 years ago.
Designed by Takuhiro Shinomoto of Tortoise in Venice, CA his vision was to integrate the traditional Japanese aesthetics to create a new, modern Japanese tableware. Inspired by the traditional Japanese lacquered tiered boxes or Jubako. The Juabko accompanies the traditional Osechi Ryori meal enjoyed by japanese people during New Year. Stacked boxes are usually placed on top of each other and it is said that by doing so, you pile up happiness and fortune for the year to come.
To simplify life at home the Hasami Porcelain plates, bowls and mugs of the same diameter are easily stacked. This makes it convenient for serving and easy to store away, especially where space is limited. This functional design allows the Hasami plates to also be used as lids or coasters.
Keiko Shinomoto, who co founded the boutique Tortoise General Store with her husband Takuhiro describes how the duo built a business on the basis of slower, more sustainable consumption - one that tries to reconcile how technological advancements have increased human life spans year after year, and yet the life span of man-made products seems to decrease. (1)
What is Hasami made of?
The beauty of Hasami Porcelain lies in its soft texture, carefully shaped into modern lines. It has a distinct natural feel compared to traditional porcelain. The textural feel of the porcelain will soften over time. The glazed colours of black and gloss grey provide a glimpse into this textural feeling - the smooth external finish exposes the natural clay underneath at the rim only. Using traditional glazing techniques with a proprietary blend of natural stone and clay materials, the outer texture of HASAMI PORCELAIN is a result of many years of development to bring out the very best of these raw natural resources. (2)
Beautiful Japanese Aesthetics
In pottery the Japanese especially admire accidental effects that resemble natural forms. Objects that appear misshapen and glazes that exhibit what would usually be regarded as serious imperfections in the West are admired by the Japanese connoisseur. The Japanese potter liked to reveal the impress of the hand that made the object. Marks, such as the ridges left by the fingers in a newly thrown vessel, were frequently accentuated instead of being obliterated, and marks made by tools were often left untouched. (3)
The natural elements that make up a Hasami mug or Hasami plate are intimately affected by the seasons. Temperature and humidity can influence the redness of the raw soil throughout the clay, or how the glaze runs over the textured surface. These natural variances create colours that appear warmer or cooler depending on the season they are made. This variance is what contributes to the uniqueness of the Hasami Porcelain.
Like all organic materials ceramic will change and patina with time. The appearance of Hasami Porcelain in all of the glazes will darken, stain, and patina as it ages; this is a natural character and a result of use.
Hasami Porcelain is dishwasher and microwave safe, but not oven safe or safe to put over an open flame. Chipping can occur with frequent knocking or hard impact. Cracking and breaking should not occur from normal daily use, accidents excluded. Hasami Porcelain is also intended for ‘home use’ and not ‘commercial use’ as it may not withstand high traffic usage or restaurant dishwashers.
The black finish is susceptible to show the most change and patina when it comes into contact with oils from food or drinks (like in coffee) to natural oils from our hands.
Over time parts of the black glaze will change color and develop a metallic shine, a unique patina compared to the other glazes. If you would like to minimise these signs of patina and aging Hasami Porcelain recommends
- Mixing baking soda with vinegar and placing it over affected area
- Covering the area with a paper towel and allowing it to sit for an hour
- Washing off the area with hot water and mild dish soap. Even when following these steps, patina is unavoidable and a natural process.
Shop our collection of Japanese tableware by Hasami Porcelain. Simple Beautiful Things - Australia.
1 WWD 14 Mar 2019
3 George Savage - Freelance writer. Author of Concise History of Interior Decoration; French Decorative Art; Porcelain Through the Ages; and many other works on the decorative arts.