ETSY SPOTLIGHT: Mayumi Yamashita

Friday, January 12, 2018
Contemporary Japanese pottery by Mayumi Yamashita on Etsy
clear glazed speckled rimmed small bowl (kohiki) ($19.51)

Today, I'd like to share with you another favorite Japanese ceramicist on Etsy, Mayumi Yamashita. In a world affected by a high-speed madness and a multitasking frenzy, the creations of Mayumi feel like an oasis of calmness and rejoice. An excuse to seize the moment, stay in silence and purposefully sip on a warm tea waiting for the day to unfold its natural beauty in front of your eyes. Follow me, after the jump, to get to know Mayumi and her inspiring ceramics.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your store.

I was born and grew up in the smallest coastal area (Kagawa) in south-west Japan. I studied fashion design and tailoring at college in Tokyo and textile design and ceramics at university in the UK. I’ve set up own studio in my hometown a few years ago and work as a potter since then.

How/when did you realize that your love for creating can be something more than a hobby?

My parents used to run sewing/knitting factory and I loved spending time there so growing up with skilled craft people and admiring their craftsmanship must have influenced my creativity and become a maker. I always wanted to be someone who can make a living anywhere with her own skills and creativity and wanted to do something only I can do, no one else does.

Contemporary Japanese pottery by Mayumi Yamashita on Etsy
rusty grey faceted mug ($33.44)

What was the first thing you sold on your store?

I still vividly remember that a Slovakian artist bought one of my porcelain lidded jar with small people shaped knob. All the lidded jars had teeny tiny people on them back then.

Which of the product/s you have in the store is/are the most popular with your customers? Why do you think is that?

Teapots are popular even they are the most expensive item in my shop. They say that it’s quite hard to find like my teapots in their countries.

Contemporary Japanese pottery by Mayumi Yamashita on Etsy
matte glazed speckled rimmed medium bowl (kohiki) ($44.59)

Do you have any favorites from your collection?

I like the ‘incised’ and the ‘faceted’ collection. I tend to look for somewhere that can be incised/faceted on my pottery! I guess I mildly obsessed with that. It requires one to two more processes but I feel it worth the extra work when I see the finished work.

What product/s have you enjoyed working on the most and why?

I love making teapots and vases. Vases have my unconditional love and teapots have my burning and rather intense love! For me, making teapot is as exciting as making ‘sculptural’ piece. Assembling bits and bits together to make one piece can be difficult and frustrating because it needs to be aesthetically pleasing yet needs to be functional as well but when you get it right, it gives you quite a satisfaction.

Contemporary Japanese pottery by Mayumi Yamashita on Etsy
rusty grey faceted creamer ($28.80)

How do you usually keep yourself inspired?

I usually don’t go looking for inspirations. I figured that if I do that, it tends to end up with no luck. Anything can be your inspirations really. The latest collection is inspired by rusty vintage tin items and what I’ve been working on is inspired by roasted and flavored beans I had.

What aspects of your business/store do you enjoy the most/least?

As a maker, of course, I enjoy ‘making pottery’ the most but as a business, I need to do admin things quite a lot and they are not so fun thing to do... As for the shop, ‘taking photos’ and ‘listing items with detailed description’ take for ages even they are the most crucial part of running a webshop. I love taking photos but still, it’s very time-consuming.

Contemporary Japanese pottery by Mayumi Yamashita on Etsy
brownish light peppermint incised bowl ($39.94)

Tell us a feedback from a customer that put a smile on your face.

I appreciate all the feedbacks and sometimes their requests/feedbacks would lead to the inspirations for new items. One thing, I’ve noticed that quite a lot of people buy my pottery as a gift. That makes me happy because someone chooses my shop/work from numberless shops on Etsy for someone special. If the person who receives my pottery is happy with it then the sender can be happy because of it. It’s like ‘doubled happiness’ to me.

Is there any advice you would like to give to people who want to start their own handmade business?

Make and sell what you love, not what people might like :) (This is my mantra!)
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