Shinpei Mawatari

Craft Talk 02: Shinpei Mawatari

»I found freedom in creating things with clay«

Earthy and refined. These two words may be conflicting more or less, but could be the right ones to describe Shinpei Mawatari’s works. I see rustic tranquility and austerity in them.

Our second interviewee from Crafts Fair Matsumoto is a potter, Shinpei Mawatari. Born in Saitama 1976, he studied pottery at Traditional Arts Shcool of Kyoto and trained another two years in Hagi which is one of the renowned Japanese pottery cities. Since 2012, he produces his works in Akita, where he turned a cowshed into his atelier, and uses the clay from the site.

Here is the interview:

What do you see from the window now?

Shinpei Mawatari: Three Japanese Maple trees, green, yellow, and red. Two of them have been turned their colors into yellow and red since spring, somehow. I also see the future with my family and my anticipation for my kids.

What did trigger you to become an artisan?

I wanted to create,
I wanted to do something that I can accomplish alone,
I found freedom in creating things with clay.
I just imagined that a potter’s life would fulfill these wishes and went for it, even though I had no knowledge or experience of pottery.

Why do you prefer to work with your hands instead of having the pieces mass-produced?

I wanted to create things with my hands. And I loved it. I do not know why. My gene and the environment I grew up may have influenced me.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Marvelous works of other artists from the past until now.
Nature, such as trees, sky, sea, insects …
Things in bottom of my heart.

Do you have any mottos or slogans?

As my works are for everyday use, they should be durable, easy to use, never bore users, touch users not for a second but for longer, tempt users appreciating every day, and not be characteristic, but radiate its character.

What is the biggest joy as artisan?

I will be joyful, whenever I feel that I am approaching the goal step by step — though the goal is sometimes clear and sometimes not.
I will be also delighted when buyers or users are happy with my works.

What makes your products special?

A difficult question to answer. Honestly to say, I do not know the answer, and I would love you to tell it to me.
I make things that I find useful and I can’t compare mines with others.
I believe, only the people who are objective can answer this question.
I would be happy if my works reflect my intention and draw people’s attention.

Where can people find your work?

At some shops, craft fairs, atelier, and online. All the information is on my website.

What will you be doing after this interview?

Have a look sleeping faces of my wife and kids, then go to sleep.

Visit the website of Shinpei Mawatari:

See products by Shinpei Mawatari in our shop: