Interview with Kawabata Kentaro - Japanese ceramic artist, Keiko Gallery

Interview with Kawabata Kentaro - Japanese ceramic artist represented by Keiko Gallery, October 2011

The special feature in partnership with Keiko Gallery includes interviews with 10 Japanese artists represented by Keiko, and many images with their works.

→ This interview is featured in Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue One, Winter 2011-2012.

Ceramics Now Magazine
: You were among the first contemporary Japanese artists to combine ceramics and glass when constructing a new work. How did you start to connect these materials?

Kawabata Kentaro: I wanted to to extract the ingredients from the glaze and embed them into the clay. For example, I tried to use fragments of smashed glass bottles, feldspar, silica stone and beachsand in my white porcelain works, and I did that by mixing these fragments with the glaze. I also wanted to observe the chemical reactions between those materials and the clear glaze after the firing. Throughout these experiences, I was fascinated about the harmony of the different kinds of translucency between glass and white porcelain. I also love touching the unfired clay with bits of glass inserted into it, and I want to get the similar feeling after the firing. I want to constantly develop my work, so I am still looking for new glazes and new kinds of glass as well as interesting materials which go well with my style of work.

Kawabata Kentaro Japanese Ceramics - Contemporary Ceramics Magazine

Batista, 2011, Glazed clay, glass, silver, 26” x 18” x 12 1/2”. Photo by Taku Saiki - View his works


What is your present project and how do you make the pieces? Tell us more about the process.

Now I am trying to construct a few sculptures using slip casting. After making several different kinds of plaster casts, I connect them. I use my original technique in my newest works, which consists in applying small clay balls and sand on the surface.

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Interview with Tanoue Shinya - Japanese ceramic artist, Keiko Gallery

Interview with Tanoue Shinya - Japanese ceramic artist represented by Keiko Gallery, October 2011

The special feature in partnership with Keiko Gallery includes interviews with 10 Japanese artists represented by Keiko, and many images with their works.

→ The interviews will be published in the first printed issue of Ceramics Now Magazine. Pre-order Issue nr. 1 - Winter 2011-2012 or subscribe for one year.

Ceramics Now Magazine : What was the starting point in your investigation with ceramics? Do you remember your early works?

Tanoue Shinya: When I was a student of Theology at the Doshisha University, I also belonged to the ceramic club. I was just absorbed to make something with clay in the club’s room. I worked for some textile company for two years after the graduation, and I entered Kyoto Saga Art College because I wanted to learn more throwing techniques. I remember the pieces I made in the college very well. The pieces I’ve made in my freshman year are the origins of my current series.

Tanoue Shinya Japanese Ceramics - Contemporary Ceramics Magazine

KARA-10: Fu- a, 2010, Glazed clay, 7” x 26” x 4 1/2” (h) - View his works

Your works may be simple, but the details, the lines and curves of your works are very sinuous. Tell us about how do you construct your pieces.

After creating the vessel or sculpture’s shape with coil techniques, the slip is applied on the surface. And then I groove the surface with needles one by one and at the end I rub iron into those grooves.

The important theme of my pieces is the shell - egg shells, shells of fruits or seashells, because they are deeply related to the normal circles of life. The cobalt blue in the pieces represent the ocean, which is the origin of life on Earth.  The wombs are consideres to be the shell of human beings, so if I could express in my pieces the memories of leaving the wombs (leaving forever the protective and comfortable feeling), it would be wonderful.

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Interview with Murata Yoshihiko - Japanese lacquer artist, Keiko Gallery

Interview with Murata Yoshihiko - Japanese lacquer artist represented by Keiko Gallery, October 2011

The special feature in partnership with Keiko Gallery includes interviews with 10 Japanese artists represented by Keiko, and many images with their works.

→ The interviews will be published in the first printed issue of Ceramics Now Magazine. Pre-order Issue nr. 1 - Winter 2011-2012 or subscribe for one year.

Ceramics Now Magazine : You are a very young and talented artist. What was your first experience with art and with lacquer?

Murata Yoshihiko: I wasn’t exposed to the arts that much and didn’t know about Japanese lacquer work very well until I entered the art collage. I was interested in design and woodwork working and wanted to make the furniture for our daily life when I was a teenager. When I was a sophomore student, I choose the Urushi department for my major, but it was something uncomfortable for me. At first, I made many chaotic pieces, however those pieces are supposed to be an origin of my work today.

Murata Yoshihiko Japanese Lacquer art on Ceramics Now Magazine

Silhouette-02, 2010, Maple wood, lacquer, 8” x 2 3/4” x 1 1/2” - View his works

Your works have an extraordinary sense of space and light, their shadows contrasting with the colors and the surroundings. How do you make these fantastic lines of dark? It has to do with the slim silhouettes of your works.

I simulate the three dimensional shapes in my mind, for example, how lines will be flowing or how they are placed on the pedestals or attached on the walls. I believe that only lines which look beautiful from any angles can make the lithe and sharp silhouette.

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Interview with Niisato Akio - Japanese ceramic artist, Keiko Gallery

Interview with Niisato Akio - Japanese ceramic artist represented by Keiko Gallery, October 2011

The special feature in partnership with Keiko Gallery includes interviews with 10 Japanese artists represented by Keiko, and many images with their works.

→ The interviews will be published in the first printed issue of Ceramics Now Magazine. Pre-order Issue nr. 1 - Winter 2011-2012 or subscribe for one year.

Ceramics Now Magazine : You are about to start working as artist in residence at the Harvard Ceramic Studio. What do you hope you’ll learn from this experience?

Niisato Akio: I am very interested in the different perspectives on craft art, especially Ceramics between US and Japan. I feel that the vessels are more appreciated in Japan rather than US, as well as the ceramic art itself. I would like to know why and I will research on these issues during my stay at Harvard. I am looking forward to seeing new people who will give me a lots of inspiration.

Niisato Akio Japanese Ceramics

Luminous Vessel, 2008, Glazed porcelain, 5” x 5” x 10” - View his works

Ceramics Now Magazine: The lightness and pureness of your works makes them unique. Tell us more about how do you make them.

Niisato Akio: White is a simple color, but it can express the subtle nuance between sensibility/ pureness and lights/ shadows.

After I throw the pieces, they are razed as thin as possible, and then I drill the holes with an electric drill, one by one.

After the firing, I sand the surfaces and the glaze is applied manually into the holes. Another glaze is applied all over the surfaces with a compressor and then the pieces go into the kiln at 2246(F). It is not so easy to make the smooth surface with a single firing, because the holes absorb the glaze very easily, so they need to be fired two or three times to get a nice result.

Niisato Akio Japanese Ceramics - Ceramics Now Magazine

Luminous Form, 2008, Glazed porcelain, 12” x 8 1/2” - View his works

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Interview with Mariko Husain - Japanese jewelry artist, Keiko Gallery

Interview with Mariko Husain - Japanese jewelry artist represented by Keiko Gallery, October 2011

The special feature in partnership with Keiko Gallery includes interviews with 10 Japanese artists represented by Keiko, and many images with their works.

→ The interviews will be published in the first printed issue of Ceramics Now Magazine. Pre-order Issue nr. 1 - Winter 2011-2012 or subscribe for one year.

Ceramics Now Magazine : Your works are exquisite and embrace all the qualities of elegance and rhythm. Can you explain the constructing process? Do you work alone, do you have a studio? It sure needs a lot of delicacy.

Mariko Husain Japanese jewelryMariko Husain: I was very fortunate to have learned Jewelry design at Central School of Art and design in London, England where their focus was on teaching to follow the theme of one’s interest, explore all possibility and develop design fully.
The process of my work is very much involved on developing ideas, drawings, playing with paper models and metal samples. Using paper and fabric pressing to create texture on metal and mat finish are my preference.
All my work are created from sheet & wire of metal and hand made with no castings. The equipment I use includes various hand-tools, milling machine, flux soldering machine, etc.  to produce my work. I have a studio where I work alone to create my designs and make my jewellery.

Mariko Husain Japanese Jewelry - Ceramics Now

Earrings, 2011, Sterling silver, pearl, 1 1/3 (L) - View her works

The continuous forms and elements of nature seem to be your inspiration, but have you ever tried to do something more rigid, or geometrical?

In the early stage of my career I tried to work on geometric designs, however I found my self drawn to the themes of nature especially the rhythm, movement, texture, power, stillness and so many variations of form and pattern of water.


What can you tell us about the theme of your works and the materials you use?

The theme of my work has been mainly water, including ocean, river, stream, water fall and lake. I work mostly with sterling silver accented with 18K. yellow gold. I like the visual effect of the combination. I occasionally work with 18K white gold. Many of my work include pearls, precious & semi precious stones.

Mariko Husain Jewelry - Ceramics Now Magazine

Necklace, 2011, Sterling silver, 18” (L) - View her works

Ceramics Now Magazine : The market for your jewelries consists in elegant women. Where do you sell your pieces? Do you think that exhibiting them helps you work to be more recognizable?

Mariko Husain: Unless I am working on a commissioned pieces I do not think of my market. My ideas come to me naturally. If I were to focus only on certain demographics, I feel that it would stifle my creativity. I sell my work at Keiko Gallery in Boston MA. and I do yearly exhibitions in Tokyo, Japan. Due to these exposures I have gained many customers who look forward to my work and continue to return often to see my new creations.


What’s the most important advice you can give to a young artist?

If you follow your passion and pursue your dream every thing will come true.

Mariko Husain contemporary jewelry design

Broach, 2011, Sterling silver, 18K gold, pearl, 2 3/4” x 1/2” x 3/8” - View her works

Visit Keiko Gallery’s website.

Keiko Gallery feature - Japanese artists

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Interview by Vasi Hîrdo - Editor of Ceramics Now Magazine

Interview with Takeda Asayo - Japanese textile artist, Keiko Gallery

Interview with Takeda Asayo - Japanese textile artist represented by Keiko Gallery, October 2011

The special feature in partnership with Keiko Gallery includes interviews with 10 Japanese artists represented by Keiko, and many images with their works.

→ The interviews will be published in the first printed issue of Ceramics Now Magazine. Pre-order Issue nr. 1 - Winter 2011-2012 or subscribe for one year.

Ceramics Now Magazine : You are one of the most appreciated textile artists in Japan, with many awards for your purses. When did you start working with textiles?

Takeda Asayo: I started making purses in 1970 and had my first solo exhibition in a gallery in 1983.

Do you remember how much you asked for the first bag you created to be sold?

It was about JPY 12000 (=$150). That purchase made me confident and gave me the power to go forward.

Takeda Asayo Japanese Textile artist - Ceramics Now

Sculpturesque Purse, 2009, Cotton, leather - View her works

More than 30 years ago, you established your own independent studio for the production of fabric sculpture and bags. What can you tell us about the studio, how it evolved in time?

I would like to create the usable sculpture rather than just looking. I believe that this new concept appeals to many people, so I have been able to continue my style until now.


Your works have an amazing and innovative design which distinguish itself. You carefully chose the fabric material, and you try to make your works to be comfortable and complimentary to the human body. Doing all that, you find a balance between functionality and design. How?

Our body of work consists in many curved lines, so I always consider that the shape and lines of my purses can harmonize with our body line. I prefer to improvise rather than using the fixed patterns. That makes my purses comfortable to wear.

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