Many of us who make pots know "The Unknown Craftsman" by Yanagi Soetsu. It's long been a sort of handbook for Mingei folkcraft philosophy. But, in fact, though we revere the concept, most of us sign our pots with our names or initials, the better for buyers to find us the next time they want a mug just like the one that holds their morning coffee. True "unknown craftsmen" are hard to find these days, at least in the Western world. But I found the beautiful work of some anonymous Vietnamese potters last week at the Swanson garden center in Seattle. Wonderful wood-fired garden pots, some of them big enough to hold small trees in hotel or office lobbies, were on sale at Swanson's. The bulging round pot in the top photo was perhaps three feet tall and might hold 50 gallons of soil. It had a monumental and pleasing presence and was on sale for just over $200. It much reminded me of the work of UK potter Svend Bayer and I can guarantee that Bayer gets considerably more than $200 for similar pots. The remarkable thing about these pots is that they are apparently turned out by the hundreds and thousands at potteries in Vietnam. I've only done a bit of research and haven't found much written about them, but at http://www.tinhkhoi.com/factory-showroom/factory-showroom.html you can get a look inside the factory and see the vast numbers of pots and the wood kilns used to fire them. Check them out. The quality is excellent. I'd be more than proud to be able to turn out a single pot the size of that one big planter, let alone do it day after day.
I make and sell functional pottery at Hatchville Pottery in Hatchville, a neighborhood of the town of Falmouth, at the west end of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. I'm a former journalist - 20 years as a photographer, writer and editor - who began to make pottery about 20 years ago in Alexandria, VA. My training is in pots for eating, drinking and displaying flowers, often with an Asian or late British influence. Hamada Shoji, Phil Rogers, Dan Finnegan, Nakazato Takashi, Kanzaki Shiho are all influences.
Married 40 years to Dee, a massage therapist in Falmouth, with one child, Marcus.
To see more of my pots, go to my website at http://web.me.com/hatchvillepottery/Site/Home.html
DIRECTIONS TO THE POTTERY: We are at 494 Boxberry Hill Rd. in East Falmouth. Take the Route 151/Mashpee exit off Route 28 in North Falmouth, go east on 151 to the first flashing light, take a right onto Boxberry Hill. We're about a quarter mile down on the right, at the corner of Brady Drive. Call 508-563-1948 for more information, or email firstname.lastname@example.org