August brings a high summer treat with the work of Akiko Hirai. Undoubtedly Akiko’s work exudes her Japanese heritage, however we know from the considerable sales of her work over past years, that it is the bringing together of tradition with a contemporary perspective that is so appealing. Her work is distinctly Hirai and immediately recognisable.
Born and educated in Japan, Akiko came to England in 2000 to undertake a BA (Hons) in Ceramics at Harrow and in her third year transferred to Central Saint Martins where she completed a BA(Hons ) in Ceramic Design in 2003. She joined The Chocolate Factory Studio on leaving college and up until 2015 she has been a Lecturer / Ceramic Technician and Head of Ceramics at Kensington and Chelsea College. Importantly for UK ceramic enthusiasts she chose to live and work in the UK.
We have always emphasised as a Gallery the importance of an original voice. It is evident that notwithstanding her past influences, we now see ceramics that are distinctly hers. It is always stimulating to see the combination of clay, texture and design skills. Akiko demonstrates that texturing of pots is as effective as colour in enhancing the profile and presence of each vessel.