Hello Monday, and welcome to a new week on Collectivitea! I have always found the blue and white color pairing on ceramics and textiles fascinating! If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I can spend hours and days photographing them. And thanks to the way social media algorithms work, I am constantly finding new sources of blue and white inspiration! Which is how I came across the work of Aki Yamaguchi of Rinsengama. Aki is an artist and maker of ceramics based in Saga, Japan. She hand-paints her ceramics with scenes that are inspired by the power, beauty and whimsy of nature. I fell in love with her work because it captures the fragility and the fleeting nature of some of life’s most beautiful moments. I asked her to share the story of her work, and why she does, what she does. It’s translated from the original Japanese by my older son. – Priya
” I have enjoyed drawing since I was a child. I didn’t have special talent for art, but I loved it. As a teenager in high school, I chose to study graphic design. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite what I expected, so I switched to studying ceramics. I also tried pottery, but in the end, brush-strokes were what truly spoke to me.
For the last 20 years, I have created hand-painted ceramics. My porcelain designs are a fusion of the new and the old. The blue I use has a slightly sad tinge. I didn’t choose it intentionally, but perhaps I’m unconsciously expressing my personality through the color. The patterns on the porcelain are modeled after the beauty I see and feel. I enjoy traditional designs and nature. That’s why I want to continue painting. My teacher once told me, “Don’t paint an image of flowers, paint the flowers themselves.” This is an important motto in my work. It’s my challenge for the future.
I want to show my creations to many people in different countries. I also want to sell my work all over the world. Due to the recession, the sale of ceramics in Japan is slow. The weak economy causes people to make cheap, simplistic porcelain that rarely does justice to the traditional style. My porcelain isn’t cheap. However, I take that much more pride and responsibility in the creation of these traditional works of art. It’s difficult to sell only in Japan, but I believe that there’s demand for porcelain abroad. I’m still learning, but I’m sure that I want to create ceramics that can be held by people across the world. From now on, I will continue to create this art. Beautiful, kind art. – Aki Yamaguchi
All photographs are courtesy of Aki Yamaguchi.
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