Peter Hamann is an American-born ceramic artist who has lived in Japan more than 30 years and is now a Japanese citizen with the name Sougen Itani. He grew up in Iowa and started his studies of ceramics in the United States and New Zealand. He then relearned ceramics in Japan, where he was introduced to Chanoyu, or the Japanese tea ceremony. He studied the Way of Tea in the Yabunouchi style with Master Fukuda Chikuyu, currently teaches Tea, and helps with tea ceremonies at various venues in Japan. He holds an annual tea ceremony in his traditional Japanese-style home in Sasayama City in Hyōgo, where he also has established his ceramics studio and shows his art work. His creation of ceramics is strongly integrated with his practice of the tea ceremony.
Mr. Hamann believes that the appreciation and respect for objects of quality that Chanoyu teaches is an important aspect of traditional Japanese culture. His involvement in Chanoyu also makes Mr. Hamann a firm believer in the utility of the pieces he makes. Mr. Hamann specializes in refined carved porcelain. He has developed his own interpretation of the medium over time since early encounters with carved porcelain in Japan. The bold patterns of his recent pieces transform the shape of the vessel, blurring the line between shape and surface decoration. His pieces have been recognized at juried shows across Japan, such as the Traditional Japanese Kogei (Art Crafts) Exhibitions. In 1996, he was accepted into the prestigious Japan Kogei Association and remains its only Western member.