Kaori Tatebayashi

Born: 1972
Place of Birth: Arita, Japan

Born in the tiny village of Arita, the home of Imari porcelain in Japan, ceramic artist Kaori Tatebayashi
graduated with a BA(hons) and an MA in ceramics from Kyoto City University in Japan. During her degrees, she studied abroad at both the Royal College of Art, London as well as Kolding Design School of Art, Denmark.

While studying ceramics in Kyoto and London, I explored what new possibilities clay could have and what this familiar material meant to myself. Its paradoxical nature fascinated me, simultaneously having a sense of fragility and permanence. Whatever you make with soft and malleable clay, the firing will result in irreversible changes. Clay will end its organic life, and what remains after the firing is like a lifeless ‘shell’. It becomes strong and durable, but at the same time it can be destroyed in an instant. This fragility always reminds me of nature’s cycle. Fired ceramic resembles ghosts, losing their organic life in the firing. It becomes a metaphor for memory, traces of the past and a connection between the past and the present. Using its spectral appearance and paradoxical character, I aim to capture time and preserve it within clay. In recent years, my love of nature, plants and gardening has increasingly influenced my work. I capture and preserve the fleeting moments of the life cycle of plants through modelling by hand. By stopping the clock and also removing original colour, ordinary objects become something extraordinary to look at and will resemble a ghostly apparition.

Kaori has received awards from the Crafts Council and was commissioned to create tableware for the British Museum’s Grenville Room in 2009.


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