Spotlight on Internationally Acclaimed Contemporary Ceramicist Akiko Hirai

  • Moon Jar by Akiko Hirai


    We are completely in awe of the work of Akiko Hirai and many of you will have seen her work at our recent Dulwich Festival show and perhaps heard us talk passionately about it.  As Akiko’s work is hugely respected in the ceramic world and is collected by ceramic collectors worldwide, we thought we’d give you all a little more background on the artist as she’s a recent acquisition to the Cavaliero Finn portfolio.


    Akiko Hirai was born in Japan in March 1970. She initially studied cognitive psychology in Japan before coming to England where she took a degree course in ceramics at the University of Westminster, graduating from Central St. Martins.  Until recently Akiko was Head of Ceramics at Kensington and Chelsea College but due to the huge demand for her work she now works full time on her ceramic pieces in her North London studio.


    Akiko juxtaposes traditional Japanese ceramic traditions with British traditions resulting in a work, truly unique in texture and appearance. When creating each piece, she allows the clay to ‘speak for itself’ and the results are raw, textured and truly stunning.


    When talking about Akiko’s work, following her recent show at The Contemporary Ceramic Centre in London, ‘Getemono Re-Conceptualised’ (Getemono being the Japanese word for Japanese unpolished peasant craft) the Editor of Emerging Potters Magazine, Paul Bailey, said: ‘I would take issue with the title as there is nothing unsophisticated about this show. It is a range of work of great beauty and complex ceramic techniques……taking the element of risk to new levels…. Any imperfections become a part of the total impact of the work. She works with stoneware and crank and then it is wood-ash fired in a gas kiln.’


    Left: Moon Jar by Akiko Hirai alongside Milk and Honey by Gill Rocca

    Right: Moon Jars by Akiko Hirai featured alongside paintings by Daisy Cook


    One of the artist’s most outstanding pieces are her Moon Jars, two of which we are very lucky to have in stock. The Moon Jar is a Korean white porcelain jar made during the mid 17th to mid 18th century in the late period of the Josean Dynasty. The name comes from its moon-like appearance in shape and milky glaze colour. Akiko brings her own unique modern day experimentation to this jars which appear to have a volcanic glaze streaming down the sides and encrusted on the surface, like a ‘whitewater’ river bubbling over rocky river beds.


    Akiko’s first Moon Jar was shown in the Moon Jar exhibition at the Korean Cultural Centre, London in August 2013 where she managed to ‘channel the imperfections and irregularities of nature in these incredible vessels’.


    The artist is currently showing work in ‘Moonstruck’, an exhibition at TASTE, Switzerland until 23 June with Adam Buick and has a solo show at the Sladers Yard gallery in Dorset this summer.


    If you would like to acquire a Moon Jar for your collection please do contact us.  These works will be the antiques of the future so this is a rare opportunity to invest in the work of an internationally acclaimed ceramic artist whose work is hugely popular with Ceramic collectors.