Reiko Kaneko designs fine bone china in elegant, functional shapes – from beautifully thin and light glassware and terracotta to pure white china, dipped in rich glazes to produce unique studio pieces. Plinth displayed her new work at the 10a Thurloe Place pop-up.
What do you do? How close to the ‘art world’ do you consider yourself?
I'm primarily a designer concentrating on form, function and materials but I'm naturally drawn to the art world. I would consider myself looking at, and working towards, the 'art world' in the sense that I spend time and effort on one piece at a time, rather than concentrating on multiples.
I would consider myself looking at, and working towards, the 'art world' in the sense that I spend time and effort on one piece at a time, rather than concentrating on multiples.
How do you define art?
I'll have to get back to you on this one! Art that I'm attracted to is something that evokes a reaction in me, or touches me in some way. But nature can have the same effect, so I guess ‘art' must also involve a purposeful intervention...
What’s your earliest memory of visual art?
I was always fascinated by visual art and galleries. I had a children's book on Van Gogh's work and I loved his painting but remember thinking, I want to be an artist but I'm not so sure about cutting my own ear off… Maybe that was my early reasoning for becoming a designer instead!
I had a children's book on Van Gogh's work and I loved his painting but remember thinking, I want to be an artist but I'm not so sure about cutting my own ear off… Maybe that was my early reasoning for becoming a designer instead!
How does the art you see inform your own work?
I've been quite insular in developing my techniques of glazing and getting to grips with understanding the material of ceramics. I think it's time now that I look out a little more into the world and start forming some more ambitious, larger scale projects.
What are you working on at the moment?
Some more glazing experimentations and further development of kintsugi work, the Japanese art of mending in lacquer and gold.
How have your tastes in art changed over the course of your career?
I think it’s happened naturally. As a student over ten years ago, I liked the Art Guys, or Droog - whimsical and fun, with plenty of visual puns. After graduating, I was drawn to women artists like Rachel Whiteread, Cornelia Parker and Tracy Emin whose form and mark making is intriguing. These days I'm attracted to people like Ai Wei Wei with interesting ideas and political messages that challenge authorities and the status quo.
What’s your favourite exhibition of 2016 so far?
Ai Wei Wei, at the Royal Academy.
In many ways, it's landscape and natural environments that tend to move me the most, but I also look up to Japanese stoneware potters.
Where does your inspiration come from?
For my glazing, it's generally trial and error. I love discovering patterns that may be found in nature in some of the reactions that form in the glass. In many ways, it's landscape and natural environments that tend to move me the most, but I also look up to Japanese stoneware potters.
Are you ever inspired by art created in a different sphere to your own? (e.g., music, writing, film?)
Being sensitive to all visual art, I love Wes Anderson, Patti Smith, Bjork and the other greats. I'd like to bring in a little more of their influence in to my work - that kind of assertiveness is inspiring.
How would you explain London’s creative zeitgeist at the moment? How do you draw on it?
Having moved up to Stoke-on-Trent, I am more sensitive to what London has to offer in comparison. I see zeitgeist as something that comes down to the people, their energy and creativity. Also that drive, to make, create, do... I'm starting to see that entrepreneurial, risk-taking spirit in Stoke and I love it.