Interview with Miyu Kurihara - Japanese Ceramicist
- Can you tell us more about your background?
I was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1989 and grew-up travelling between both Germany and Japan but now I’m based in London. I decided to study in Japan, where I received my BA in 2014 from the Department of Product and Textile Design, Tama Art University but completed my MA in Textile Design at the Chelsea College of Arts here in London in 2016.
- What drove you to start your own company rather than work in-house?
I’ve enjoyed making things using my hands since I was a child therefore I was initially interested in craftsmanship rather than designers. After I finished my Masters course in London, I did some exhibitions that lead to a number of sales as well as receiving some opportunities to show my works at a number of shops and galleries. Although it was a big challenge for me, at that moment I’ve decided to work for myself.
- What influences your designs?
I draw upon my heritage when creating my ceramics pieces; inspired by both Japanese kimono designs and traditional Asian ceramics. My work is especially influenced by Chinese ceramics from the Ming dynasty. I often visit the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum to study their blue and white porcelain collections. Inspired by the depiction of animals and mythical beasts in classic works, my work consists of classical motifs combined with my original geometric patterns.
- You have an alternative process of craftsmanship; can you tell us more about how you go about creating your pieces?
Initially, I make the shape using a slip casting technique. After bisque firing them at low temperature of around 870 degrees, I paint them with brushes individually. To complete the works, I glaze draw the pieces and fire them again but this time at high temperature of around 1240 degrees.
Regarding the drawing techniques, I learned brush techniques and textile design in Japan and London. I incorporate these skills into my work and uses traditional blue and white porcelain craftsmanship that originates in China and Japan.
- Is functionality as important as aesthetic for you?
Functionality is not always as important as aesthetics for me as I’m very interested in the ground between functional and unfunctional because unfunctional shape, colour and texture is just as beautiful sometimes as perfection.
- What sides of London inspire you as a city?
There are a number of large art & craft markets in London, which means there are a lot of opportunities to see the front-line artists' exhibitions alongside the traditional works, which together inspired me a lot.
- What do you like about Notting Hill?
I like the atmosphere of Notting Hill, as there are a lot of cozy restaurants, bakeries, and select shops etc.
- Aside from ceramics and art, what other passions do you have?
Although it is still a part of my job, I am very interested in interior design, especially interior-textiles. I focused on ceramics for the last 3 years, but now I have a passion for creating textiles. I used to work on print textiles, but I would like to try other techniques such as dyeing and weaving.
- What else is in the pipeline for “Miyu Kurihara”?
I think "hand-painting" is one of the important characteristics of MIYU KURIHARA. I aim to keep the elements of hand painting even if I expand the range of products to textiles or other materials in the future.
Shop our Miyu Kurihara collection here.
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