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In conversation with Ikuko Iwamoto, ceramic artist

Ikuko Iwamoto is a Japanese ceramic artist based in London. We have been lucky enough to feature her work on our Instagram gallery this month and here she tells us a little more about her work…

Can you tell us a little about yourself, and your background?

I moved to the UK in 2001 and have been creating my works at my studio (Craft Central/Clerkenwell) in London since 2006. I had originally been working on large-scaled, hand-built, free-standing sculptures in Japan but, after I obtained slip-casting techniques with my MA course in London, I started creating porcelain tableware. I set up my framed sculpture project in 2012.

How did you develop a love for sculpture?

When I was at high school (secondary school) student back in Japan, a teacher in an art class told me that I had no talent with drawing, therefore, I guess, I naturally chose to work on 3D work, since I had lost my confidence with 2D.

Dealing with clay is something very special because it is absolutely primitive, especially when you create things with handbuilding. It is like what you think in your head goes into your fingers, and these fingers becomes your boss to change the shapes of material. It is kind of communicating with yourself or getting something out from inside of you. My works have become more technical, because what I create nowadays need certain skills, however, no matter how technical the works become, there are still lots of direct touches involved between my hand and materials.


What techniques do you use?

Most of my works, especially tableware, are created with a slip-casting technique, (which requires model-making and plaster mould-making) for the purpose of repeated production. This technique is very useful for creating hollow bodies of sculpture, and is also suitable for creating smooth surfaces.

I believe decoration is a very important element in making your work look different from others’. I use a pile-up-dots technique to create organic thorns – I literally pile up a single dot coming out of my syringe-like tool.

What was your inspiration behind the work on our gallery?

Nature, especially the microscopic world, has been a major inspiration for my work. I am particularly interested in the inner structure of the objects.

What work are you most proud of, and why?

It would be “Spiky spiky bowl” (see work on the right in the image above). I had been thinking of what can ultimately be done technically with porcelain clay, and in the end, this “Spiky spiky bowl” was born. This work is not big, however it has a certain existence with a strong character. And the success of this work eventually led me to work on my framed sculpture project.

Don’t forget to check out Ikuko’s work on our Instagram gallery whilst you still can!