An Antidote to Lockdown!

As we are all unable to carry out normal (whatever that may mean) duties during this time, here is a wonderful film of what it was like producing  pots – many of them, in Mashiko Village, Japan, back in 1937. You see not only individual skills but the collective efforts with clay refining and firing necessary for all the potteries in the village to survive. Particularly you see the pivotal parts played by women and the damn hard work involved!

Originally schedule to be shown at Gulgong, this film is now made available courtesy of Marty Gross, Producer and Director of The Mingei Film Archive who, over the past 35+ years has collected films documenting the origins and manifestations of the Mingei (Folk Craft) Movement in Japan and Korea (among other things).  Marty’s collection includes early independent films and significant unseen footage. These are restored, digitised and enhanced with new commentaries so that their precious content might be remembered and appreciated today.

For more information I suggest you can go to the Archive website which will demonstrate not only the range of films Marty has collected and restored (including Bernard Leach’s visit to New Zealand in 1962 and films made by Bernard Leach himself while re-visiting Japan in 1934) but you can view ‘before and after’ imagery that illustrates the superb differences made by the restoration processes.  It has been an enormous, painstaking and still on-going project for the Archive but one that has support  by many major organisations such as: Japan’s National Film Archive, the Folk Crafts Museum and the Japan Foundation, the Leach Pottery, the Crafts Studies Centre in the UK, the Korea Film Archive, the Korean Ceramic Association plus the Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary Art of Korea to name but some.

It is worth looking through online.  Google:  Mingei Archive Marty Gross productions, or go to

The film on Mashiko, that takes a little over half an hour will be available for 30 days.

Sales and downloads of the films are not possible at this time but to request a list of all films in the Mingei Film Archive, please contact:

Thanks are due to…


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5 responses to “An Antidote to Lockdown!

  1. Wow this is awesome, to an accessible film record such as this! Many thanks!

  2. Sarah Geary

    Thanks for posting this link for the film about Mashiko Village, gruelling conditions, hardcore workers, we are such softies! Interesting about the use of such soft clay, certainly makes sense with kick and hand wheel – amazing skills. Thanks Moyra

    • Agreed, amazing skills carried out so efficiently. No wonder they lived such long lives! Loved that woman (the commentators grandma apparently) who wedged that huge roll of clay – and how well she did it!

  3. Brilliant Moyra, and great for us to have access during our enforced hibernation. Many thanks for the work you have done with Marty Gross to bring this to our attention.

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