Japanese born, London based ceramicist, Akiko Hirai, is influenced by Buddhist and Shinto philosophies of aesthetics and balance, marrying tactile surface with elegant forms. Her diverse practice spans both functional ware, large-scale moon jars, and 'still-life' installations of monotone vessels.
Akiko works with the material qualities of coarse, slightly porous clay, for her functional ware. The rough and tactile surfaces act as insulation for the user. For her, the sensation of holding becomes an important element in creating a relationship between object and person.
Alongside domestic ware, Moon Jars are important within her practice.
Buddhist and Shinto philosophies suggest the creation of a balance between nature and human. Too much control on either side disturbs this. The philosophy of balance is at the heart of Akiko's approach to her Moon Jars. The walls of her vessels when they are 'born' must be just the right thickness - too thin and the weight of additions to the surface will cause collapse. Even a thicker more solid wall will collapse under certain circumstances. It is a characteristic she compares with the human condition; if too much pressure is applied, the body or mind will crumble.