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Ryoko Mutasono, from Japanese design shop Wagumi at Oxo Tower Wharf, has won ‘Best in Craft’ for her Kasama Potters project, from Monocle Design Awards.
Having spent 14 years profiling architects, urban planners, graphic designers, creative consultants and furniture-makers, Monocle felt that it was time to recognise this talent more formally. So, they launched their inaugural Design Awards, a formal recognition and celebration of the world’s best designers and new works of design – and awarded Best in Craft to Ryoko.
Ryoko’s Kasama Potters project is part of Japan Brand; a scheme organised by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Japan Brand supports the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises, helping them develop a presence overseas. In collaboration with the Kasama Pottery Association, and stakeholders in both local and central government, the project brings together thirty-four of the city of Kasama’s ceramicists. The project’s aim is to promote and showcase Kasama ware, and its eclectic mix of ceramic styles.
New ideas and ceramicists have always flowed in and out, and an international dimension is a logical extension of that.Ryoko Mutasono
Kasama has been a home for pottery in Japan for centuries. Sixty miles from the capital, the town exists at the point where the urban sprawl gives way to mountains and rice fields. Long a supplier of ceramics to Tokyo, Kasama now acts as a well-established creative retreat, and a vital location for the new wave of individual ceramicists in Japan. Despite it’s relatively low name recognition internationally, Kasama has been producing pottery for generations and in the past 50 years has become a magnet for free-spirited potters who prefer not to stick to the rules.
No one quite knows how to define Kasama-ware, which is part of its strength.Ryoko Mutasono
While most Japanese ceramic styles are shaped by carefully guarded traditions, Kasama has no single style. The 200-plus potters working there are an eclectic bunch, happily experimenting and producing different pieces. Ryoko has been working hard to raise the international profile of this unusual town through pottery exchanges and exhibitions in the UK – and her hard work has paid off.
A huge congratulations to Ryoko and the Kasama Potters project for winning the Best in Craft award, from everyone at Oxo Tower Wharf.
Visit Wagumi at Oxo Tower Wharf to see some of the award winning Kasama-ware for yourself. The studio is located on the first floor overlooking the river; Wagumi is open Tuesday – Sunday 11am-6pm.