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Behind the Process

This year we exhibited at Decorex International and Nobu Hotel Shoreditch as a part of London Design Festival. For both exhibitions Reiko wrote down the process behind each product, so for those who couldn’t make it we’ve compiled them together for you to read here.

 

Based in England and inspired by Japan, I specialise in ceramics and glazing. I’ve been developing my trade since 2009.

There’s something of an alchemy in glazes. I tend to work with reactive glazes – where the elements combine and bubble in the heat of the kiln, creating colours and patterns that occur in nature. They leave behind remnants of a bubbling surface that is frozen in time as the kiln cools.

Glazes behave differently depending on whether the ceramic is fired flat or upright. These vessels show how the glaze falls creating a pattern of fireworks before flowing into a pool at the base. Most of these vessels are fired three to four times. On plates and tiles that are fired flat, you can see how some glazes bubble up then blend back into the background.

Ceramic glaze is essentially glass that holds the ceramic body tight beneath, and this pressure and added material gives it further strength.

Glaze is applied by dipping the wares or with a brush, and I’m always exploring interesting ways to glaze. My current favourite tool for glazing large scale tile murals is the Japanese broom. Mark making is more defined and textured as the reeds are dragged across the surface.

As I developed the brushwork glazing on plates, the blue glazes became more and more reminiscent of Hokusai’s Great Wave and I found myself studying the image. Holding the brush, I have in mind the great energy and tension of that image and of crashing waves. Those familiar with Hokusai’s image will notice it’s the reverse of the famous print. That’s just how my arm curves.

Armed with a brush (or broom), a varied palette, possibilities for tile murals are endless. Each dramatic brushwork wall mural piece is bespoke and made to order, with “muda-ga-nai” included.

Shotoku Glass

Renowned in Japan for their paper thin, yet deceptively strong, hand blown glasses. We are honoured to be their exclusive distributor in Europe. They have been manufacturing glass since the 1920s and have perfected the skill of blowing fine, thin glass from the days when they made lightbulb casing.

Their philosophy is to create glassware that complements and enhances the drink their glasses hold, whether it be whiskies, beer, juice or water. We think the fine finish against the lips certainly makes the drink they hold, taste better.

Kintsugi

The ceramics go through a repeated firing process for glazing and sometimes the glaze runs onto the bat in the intense heat of the kiln. It’s life, you push the boundaries and often there are breakages. I’m compelled at times to restore some of these items to highlight the beauty of flaws and cracks using lacquer and precious gold.

Crafted to Order

Our small-scale production and hand finishing of the pieces allow us to develop tableware with bespoke glazes and shapes.

Bespoke tableware for NEFF home appliances was developed to their specific brief in order to intensify flavour perception of food according to Professor Charles Spence’s research in the field of Gastrophysics. The sea inspired plate heightens the perception of saltiness, the black bowl enhances the sensation of spiciness and heightens the taste of ginger, and the pink bowl boosts the perception of sweetness

Shinrin Yoku

Our new glaze range is inspired by the restful colour of green, and named after a Japanese name for ‘Forest Bathing’, shinrin-yoku. Who doesn’t want to unplug and forest bathe? To look up at the light filtering through the leaves, and hear the wind rustling through the trees?

Balancing Act explores the idea of balance

and creating movement through the sum of small parts. Individual cylinders are placed one by one in the kiln where under intense heat they fuse together to create a single dynamic piece.