The Lake District
Edward meets the Queen at her visit to his school in 1969
1. In Memory of Edward Hughes Potter
Hughes-san was an Englishman. He first took interest in pottery while he was still a teenager at secondary school, which led him to study pottery at art college. During his art college days he cultivated interest in Eastern Ceramics that led him to Japan on a Japanese Government Scholarship. He learnt the technique of making pots in the Eastern style at Kyoto City University of Arts.
With hard work he distinguished himself as a student and won the Tomimoto Award. After college he set up his own studio in Shiga Prefecture, began to make pots full time, improving his skills. All these led to one man shows in Kansai and Tokyo for five years. His shows especially with Hankyu Department Store Gallery at Kobe and Umeda were always very popular and were the central stage for his activities in Japan. The more experienced he became, however, the stronger became the pull of his native English slipware, which finally took him back home to England.
He set up his studio in the English Lake District, where he renewed his efforts in making pots combining the techniques of East and West. It took some years to resume his solo exhibitions in Japan and continue to be active in both countries. With us, the Ehime Craft Museum, he had one of the first home-coming shows in 1987, already 20 years ago. Hughes-san was a gentle, ingenuous and likeable young man in his thirties.
His passion for integrating pottery techniques of the East and West impressed us to such an extent that we kept our friendship alive all these years across half the globe. He kept working hard and diligently, which was rewarded with prizes and awards such as New-comer award, Kokuga-sho, associate and then full membership of Kokugakai.
Edward Hughes at Ehime Craft Museum, December 1987
Large Edward Hughes charger, owned by Saijo Branch of Kuraray
Large Edward Hughes charger, owned by Ehime Craft Museum
2. His later activities and sudden farewell
Hughes-san’s last shows began at Gallery Kyo in Imabari city. For us at the Ehime Craft Museum it was a happy and great occasion of reunion with him and his wife. The news of sheer success with the exhibition at Hankyu Department Store Gallery in Umeda, Osaka was received with joy and cheerful roars all around. It was followed by another successful one with Mitsukoshi Department Store Gallery in Nihonbashi, Tokyo which received a welcome visit by Britain's ambassador and his wife. The impressed ambassador gave the potter warm words of appreciation and encouragement.
These popular shows delighted his fans and supporters giving a sense of achievement and hope for this promising young potter working in Japan as well as in the United Kingdom. Who could have foreseen his death only four months later?
Over a year or so we developed an idea of a memorial exhibition at the Ehime Craft Museum to express our feelings towards the potter. Our wish has been materialised by the people listed. Together with our gratitude to their kind contributions we dedicate this exhibition to commemorate a young potter who was committed to the unity of the two pottery makings in the East and West but died prematurely before he realised his mission and dream.
Finally with a brief extract from the potter’s statement for his last exhibitions in 2005 we invite you to see what future he hoped for his work.
Contributors to the Exhibition:
Osaka Folk Crafts Museum; Komoto Setsuko and Shibata Masaaki of Osaka Folk Crafts Museum; Edamatsu Mami and Arai Yoko of the Friends of Osaka Folk Crafts Museum; Saijo Branch of Kuraray Co.Ltd.; Gallery Kyo of Imabari, Ehime Prefecture; Hideaki Yumen of Hofu, Yamaguchi Prefecture; Terada Tatsuyo, SuginoYoko, Nakayama Hiroko, Ono Tamotsu, and Nishihori Masaru of the Ehime Folk Craft Association, Saijo, Ehime Prefecture.
Thank you for many pieces of your beautiful work. May you rest in peace.
“In a changing and uncertain world I am more than ever inspired and guided by nature and Mingei. Living as we do in the English Lake District I am increasingly aware of the example of the trees around us, which are the same but new each year, as they slowly change in maturity and beauty.……………
I hope my work will mature like the great and beautiful trees around us, evolving naturally to give joy, pleasure and comfort in this ever changing world.”
Edward Hughes 2005
Edward Hughes Potter - A Retrospective