I first met Reiko Kaneko in 2016, picking apple blossom in her bucolic garden in Stoke-on-Trent, where she had rented a Victorian cottage as part of a water-mill complex, in a small village tucked within the seven towns which make up Stoke. I had travelled there to meet her for a new book I was writing for Thames & Hudson, called Creative Living Country.
Within the rambling gardens, there was a friendly pet turkey and a small bridge across a stream leading to the mill. We both laughed at how different her surroundings were from the gritty image of Stoke. At the time, she was hugely relieved not be working from a tiny studio space in Dalston (the equivalent of small cupboard), moving here meant that she could rent her own ceramics studio, with showroom, kilns and workspace.