The work of Akiko Hirai is a fusion of Japanese and British ceramic traditions. This exhibition ranges from her tactile domestic pieces - carved and faceted tea pots, tea bowls, sake bottles and vases - to her slender bottle forms grouped together to create serene still-life compositions. At the heart of the exhibition, however, are her monumental moon jars, rounded and generous in form, with thick volcanic glazes streaming down the sides or encrusted on the surface.
Akiko uses a dark, coarse clay for much of her work, with a matt white glaze that acts as a veil. Once fired, the chemical impurities of the underlying clay create subtle, often unpredictable, areas of colour and shade that can be glimpsed through the whiteness. She welcomes the sense of ambiguity this produces. In form her vessels are strong, simple and assured.
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