London, United Kingdom
Hailing from Japan, London-based Akiko Hirai throws and forms unique ceramic pieces that simultaneously echo and flout the traditions that inspire them. Imbued with the functions of workware, her pieces maintain a shifting balance between primality and delicacy.
After initially studying cognitive psychology in Japan, Akiko’s inherently creative mind called her towards non-traditional pottery and ceramics instead. She immersed herself in the craft and earned her degree from Central St Martins, going on to be shortlisted for the prestigious international Loewe Craft Prize in 2019.
In her work, rough clay is illuminated through the use of translucent glazes. Organic elements inform her aesthetic, where she uses striations, divots and pockmarks in the clay to mimic seeds, leaves and blooms. A fascination with the earthly and the intangible is present within every vessel. This balance is exemplified within her Kohiki ceramics, which are modeled after Korean Yi Dynasty Punch’ng wares.