Akiko Hirai was born in Japan in 1970. She moved to London in 1999, studying ceramics at the University of Westminster and Central St. Martins. Akiko’s work is both a blend of Japanese and British studio pottery traditions resulting in asymmetrical, ‘imperfect’ organic forms.
"My preference of choosing types of clay when making white ware is the dark and coarse clay most of the time. The whiteness acts as a membrane or a veil. The hints of the true nature of the material appear slightly on the surface. Dark clay which consists of many impurities induces strong chemical changes in heat and the trace of events remains under the veil when it cools down. White, on the other hand, is more stable because of its purity. It is already settled and has a feeling of “stillness”.
Superficially my work appears to be quiet in white. It does not show the rawness of Mother Nature directly. A symbolic figure always looks more perfect than the actual person he/she is. Imagination and fantasy always reinforce the imperfection and achieve the perfection with its own originality. Therefore the completion of my work is done by the viewers. My work is a creation on its own." - Akiko Hirai
"The work I have created for Under The Cherry Tree (exhibition 2019) was inspired by my memories of Spring in Japan. At home we celebrate the blossoming cherry trees as the pale pink petals float in the air. This period also heralds school graduation and farewells. I used to love this seasonal feeling of melancholy. Winter cherry trees in London are a lot smaller than the Japanese Somei-Yoshino. One night as I returned home from my London studio, I saw the winter cherry trees blossoming under the street light and behind it was the round, white moon. This inspired me to create a cherry tree ash glaze in a beautiful, light peppermint green." - Akiko Hirai, 2019
2002-2003 Central Saint Martins, School of Graphics and Industrial Design, London
2000- 2002 University of Westminster Harrow (transferred to St. Martins)
1989-1993 Aichi Gakuin University, Japan
Public Collections include:
Keramikmuseum Westerwald (Westerwald Ceramic Museum), Germany; Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Akiko Hirai was shortlisted for the LOEWE craft prize 2019.
Akiko's work will be exhibited at The Scottish Gallery in August 2020, and she will also be the subject of a solo exhibition in November 2021.
'Eclipse Night', Large Moon Jar View details
'Eclipse Night', Large Moon Jar2019stoneware with landscape inclusionsH:65cm W:65cmAcquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum, March 2019Akiko Hirai in her studio View details
Poppy Tsubo Vase (dot round) View details
Poppy Tsubo Vase (dot round)2019stonewareH:30cm W:32cmSoldMoon Jar Mini View details
Moon Jar Mini2019stonewareH:26cm W:23cmSold
Poppy Vases2019stonewareH:13.5-14cm W:10.5-12cmSold
Poppy Vases2019stonewareH:12-13cm W:9-11.5cmSoldMoon Jar Small/Medium View details
Moon Jar Small/Medium2019stonewareH:44cm W:38cm D:38cmSoldExtra Large Industrial Bowl View details
Extra Large Industrial Bowl2019stonewareH:29cm W:60cmSoldLarge Industrial Bowl View details
Large Industrial Bowl2019stonewareH:26.5cm W:53cmSoldPoppy Vase (dot round, extra large) View details
Poppy Vase (dot round, extra large)2019stonewareH:23cm W:24cmSoldLarge Poppy Vase (dot round) View details
Large Poppy Vase (dot round)2019stonewareH:19cm W:19.5cmSoldExtra Large Poppy Vase (faceted tall) View details
Extra Large Poppy Vase (faceted tall)2019stonewareH:24cm W:22cmSoldLarge Poppy Tsubo Vase (textured round) & Extra Large Poppy Vase (faceted tall) View details
Large Poppy Tsubo Vase (textured round) & Extra Large Poppy Vase (faceted tall)2019stonewareH:24-38cm W:22-40cmSoldExtra Large Poppy Vase (textured round) View details
Extra Large Poppy Vase (textured round)2019stonewareH:23cm W:25.5cmSoldLarge Moon Jar View details
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