Akiko Hirai was born in Shizaoka, Japan, in 1970. Though she studied ceramics in Britain, at the University of Westminster and Central St Martins, her work has a powerfully Japanese expressiveness, with the larger pieces, particularly her moon jars, full of the drama of broadside making and processes of firing. Inspired by a famous early 18th century Korean jar owned by Bernard Leach and Lucie Rie, and now in the British Museum, these monumental objects are fragmentary and thickly accreted with glazes, slips and fly-ash. The forms often appear to be on the verge of collapse, geological in aesthetic and almost volcanic in their surface energy. 

Akiko also makes a range of smaller pieces including teapots, bowls, plates and bottles, all freely made and generously and richly glazed. She lives and works in London. 

David Whiting