The Ceramics of Tomoko Sakumoto

I’ve never seen ceramics like these before. Japanese-born Tomoko Sakumoto (BFA, Okayama University, 2000. MFA, Okayama Prefectural University, 2002) creates boldly coloured contemporary striped forms that seem to invite you to touch them, or is it just me? And I couldn’t put my finger on it until just now…the stripes, although so very precise, remind me of either a circus tent or a men’s necktie…so I’m sensing both a playfulness and seriousness from them at the same time. And I LOVE their bulbous forms!

Sakumoto’s artist statement doesn’t translate exactly as she might’ve meant but it gives you some idea of her process and intent with these very attractive pieces.

 ‘I create works for the beauty that a stripe pattern intersects the solid of ceramics. The form and the pattern are imaging in my mind passing through the processes or conversations of materials.

I make a lot of parts which I cast clay that add color to a plaster mold, and the form of the art object and a color of the stripe have been laid by piling up them. The plaster mold is the method that I arrived at to draw a straight line necessary to express the simple beauty.

The parallel lines which spread without determining it while snuggling up nearest, and crossing, the stripe is the meeting. I hope it becomes more attractive in what is expressed by the feel of a material of ceramics’.

As for a web presence, Sakumoto is represented by a number of galleries. Her work can also be viewed on the dreaded Pinterest. As well she’s referenced on Instagram by others but doesn’t have an account under her name as far as I can tell.

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Form 102 from 21. 2010
Form 102 From 21, 2010
Form 103 from 12
Form 103 From 12
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Form 113 From 20
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Form 182 From 20
Rabbit, 2008 jpg
Rabbit, 2008

Fujikasa Satoko- Capturing the Wind

If art is meant to stir emotion then the work of Fujikasa Satoko has done it’s job. Powerful, gestural and billowing, her sculptures seem caught in the wind, defying the properties of the clay they’re made of.

Satoko obtained her BFA and MFA from Tokyo University of the Arts (2010), and is said to have burst onto the international stage, no small accomplishment for an artist who’s pieces take months to make.

She uses clay from the town of Shigaraki, southeast of Kyoto, the site of one of 6 centuries old cave kilns still in use in Japan today. Now, all I know about ceramics comes from high school which would fit on a pin head but there’s a whole universe of history and knowledge about clay, firing, glazing and pottery in general so all I’ll say about Shigaraki clay is that it’s said to be coarse yet pliable. Satoko builds her pieces over months by rolling the clay into thin strings which she then sculpts into the subtle flowing surfaces she’s known for. And those surfaces are thinnnnnn – anywhere from 2cm to 3mm. I can imagine she’s had to perfect the drying conditions of her pieces over many years of trial and error.

Her inspiration? Our beautiful natural world…

“It is through my intimate dialogue with my medium that I am able to express nature’s fluid energy. Drawing from both the beauty and power of this world and the emotional response that they evoke, I hope to convey nature’s life force in the mind of the viewer.”

You’ll see that I haven’t put captions under these images. That’s because this maker doesn’t have a website. She doesn’t need one 😉

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Sharon Brill – An Expression of Beauty

Many centuries ago when I was in high school art classes were something you did as a distraction from what you were really there to learn; math, english, gym, social studies and all that other stuff. So when I came home from school one day all excited and told my parents that my art teacher had encouraged me to attend art school after graduation they were not very happy about it. I don’t blame them though. They were busy keeping the 7 of us clothed, fed and housed then and I can understand they were worried about the prospect of my ability to make a living as an artist. I didn’t go to art school in the end. I became a registered nurse instead and hated every minute of it.

Sharon Brill on the other hand attended the Neri Bloomfield Academy of Design and Education. After working as a graphic designer for 10 years (1996-2006) she says she returned to her old love, ceramics. Most recently she attended Skidmore College in New York (2009-2011). And now she makes beautiful, flowing porcelain sculptures that you feel you could dive into.

She says her work is ‘an exploration, a quest that combines spontaneous, intuitive work with meticulous accurate esthetics as an expression of beauty. Sometimes I feel like an archeologist, gently removing layers, peeling and exposing the hidden worlds waiting patiently, desiring to reveal themselves’.

‘The artworks created are abstract organic sculptural shapes. Their scale varies and some can be held in your hand and observed from any angle. The lines and movement lead the eye around the shape into it and all through it.’

Check out her website here to see more.

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Untitled 4. Wheel thrown and altered porcelain
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CONCH 22, 2012. Wheel thrown and altered porcelain
 
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CONCH 23, 2012.‏ Wheel thrown and altered porcelain 
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Conch 26, 2012. Wheel thrown and altered porcelain

Rose Wei – Ceramics

If you’ve ever used 3D printing to produce your jewellery you’ll know that the printer  builds layer on layer of material to make the finished object. Those layers become part of the surface of that object which is fine if you don’t mind layers. I mind layers in jewellery, but in ceramics?

zhu-ohmu-reclining-vessel 2016
Reclining Vessel, 2016

 

zhu-ohmu-standing vessel with twisted torso 2016
Standing Vessel with Twisted Torso, 2016 

Rose Wei (aka ZHU OHMU) builds her ceramics by hand using a similar layering technique, coil on coil, inch by inch, allowing the material to slump and collapse on itself with stunning results.

Born in Taipai she obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) from the University of Auckland (2012). She currently resides in Melbourne and explains her process like this…

‘The initial concept for this body of work was a response to the rise in popularity of 3D printed ceramics. Corresponding to biomimetics – the imitation of models or systems of nature, I wanted to see how forms would turn out if I copied the way the 3D printer mound coils on top of each other with my hands. Vessels are built through stacking, folding, pressing, pulling and these actions are often dictated by the weight of moist clay. Forms emerge intuitively and seem to ebb and flow in the manner in which they are made, often pushed to their structural limits. Unlike the machine, I am able to detect the slightest change in the properties of the clay body under different environmental conditions. This insight into plasticity and workability, which can only be obtained by spending time with the physical matter through play and observation, allows me to work with and manipulate the material. In the absence of firmware or a mechanical process, no two vessels can be the same- this project is a celebration of the artist’s hand in the age of automation.

Without formal training in ceramics, the self-formulated coiling technique often leads to breakage and misconstruction during the building, drying and firing stages. This unforeseen circumstance thus incited the project to embrace the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi – the acceptance of transience and imperfection. Further research inspired the project to adopt the practice of kintsukuroi (金繕い) – the art of mending broken pottery with gold lacquer. As the name of the project suggests, plant life is used instead to fill and embellish the cracks; subsequently the works becomes living organisms and will grow and evolve for years to come. Failures are not concealed but rather highlighted and aestheticised, embodying the sustainability of ‘visible repair’. Seemingly unremarkable imperfections are reexamined with a new and unexpected appreciation’.

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