New Ashgate Gallery champions the best of contemporary art and craft providing an unparalleled resource in Farnham, Surrey and beyond
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'I make exquisite cups and other objects for a bizarre tea ceremony. They suggest the everyday, the ordinary, but are in fact extra-ordinary. They are the vehicle to make visible an invisible, microscopic world. A world of intricacy and detail, of mathematical pattern and organic chaos, of beauty and repulsion.'
Ikuko started making ceramic pieces in 1990 at Tezukayama College in Nara, Japan. She initially trained as a potter, but started creating ceramic sculptures in 1993, just prior to commencing a course a the Royal College of Art.
Ikuko describes her designs as primarily 'functional'. When she was making pots, she explains..I had to make the same sized cups all the time and I thought it was very boring. However, her approach changed after working on an 'inclusive design project' at the RCA's Hamlyn Centre. It was here that she learned to make 'tactile tableware', working with partially sighted people to help develop her unique handmade style.
Ikuko is especially curious about invisible things such as sounds, music and the microscopic world - cells, genes and organic forms. Her functional pieces are still influenced by her ceramic sculpture forms and this is what customers find most appealing - the handmade quality of her work, where every little detail is individually crafted. This meticulous level of detail also seems curiously appropriate for a subject matter that includes the tiniest of sea creatures and the minutest of micro-organisms. Ikuko explains, I like to make invisible things visible.
In terms of the design process, Ikuko also makes all the casting moulds by hand. The main body of a piece is usually created from a slip-casting, but every part of the decoration, including every single spike is individually attached by hand. All of the pieces are painstakingly made from porcelain.
Ikuko's work has already achieved critical acclaim and in March 2009, she was awarded the Ceramic Review Prize for Innovation at the RCA's Ceramic Art London exhibition.