Moon Jar large
Akiko Hirai was born in Japan in March 1970. She initially studied cognitive psychology in Japan and obtained her degree before coming to England. Inspired to take up ceramics by the Korean moon jars in the British Museum, she took a degree course in ceramics at the University of Westminster and went on to graduate from Central St. Martins. She now practises her ceramic art in Stoke Newington, London.
Akiko Hirai makes practical ware using the Japanese tradition of allowing the clay to show how it wants to be fired itself. Her work also allows the viewers to find out the language of the objects in their own ways. She focuses on the interaction between objects and viewers. Her unique approach to ceramic work has had much attention and praise and her work is in demand from commissions in England and world-wide.
From the start she has been heralded as a unique talent. Her intensely handmade tableware has a remarkable purity. Deeply textured, glazed in soft white, matt black and natural colours, her forms are those of workware, simple and satisfying. She chooses very rough dark clay and often glazes it with white, which forms a veil between the rough forms underneath and the smooth calm of the exterior. Her range is extensive and fine pieces of porcelain join Moon Jars and deeply glazed platters.
Akiko Hirai was shortlisted for the prestigious international Loewe Craft Prize 2019.
The documentary from the London Korean Cultural Centre’s Moon Jar exhibition in 2013, Aspheric Light by James Kelly. Four ceramic artists from the UK took part. Akiko Hirai’s section of the film starts at 13.52.