Akiko Hirai creates decorative artworks and tableware that harmonize many of the intrinsic paradoxes found within the claymaking process. Japanese born and London trained, the artist draws on traditional Japanese pottery techniques to conjure forms that feel both simple and sophisticated. A student of The University of Westminster and Central St Martins, her work, rendered in a cool and humanistic palette, offers a sense of push and pull between the material’s coarseness and crystalline glaze.
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Making the process visible is a key component of Hirai’s work. According to the artist, “my attempt is to express the condition of progress in my work; something ambiguous, unsettled and imaginative, so that the user of my work sees the journey the object has taken, from raw clay to firing.” The result is modern, highly collectible ceramics with pieces that feel perfectly resolved whilst also celebrating the material’s imperfections and sense of ‘chance.’ Hirai finished her arts training at Central Saint Martins and is currently the Head of Ceramics at Kensington and Chelsea College.