NIHONMONODiscovering Japan [Nihon] through authentic craftsmanship [Honmono]

”Ceramists Hikaru Momoda and Ami Hayashi” – Inspiring appeal of ceramics

”Ceramists Hikaru Momoda and Ami Hayashi”
- Inspiring appeal of ceramics

Strength and subtlety

We visited the studio of ceramists Hikaru Momoda and Ami Hayashi. A brief introduction of the two ceramic artists. Momoda was born in 1961, and after graduating from Tokyo University of Arts, Department of Crafts, he traveled all over Europe for two years. He then returned to Japan where he started to work on ceramics at ”Marunuma Art Park” in Asaka, Saitama.
His pieces have unique form and his vessels have great presence. But when you see his vase with a flower, it is strangely natural. The strength you see from the clay or earth, the pattern on its surface, and transformation of glaze all mesh together to express strength.

Vessels with serene coloring

The work by Ami Hayashi have beautiful well-balanced forms with soft colors such as pink or pale blue. Observe closely and you will find squares on the round plate; and plants, flowers and circles within the squares drawn in enamel or in inlay. She seems to enjoy expressing herself through coordinating colors on the vessels. The vessels are uniquely shaped yet will match other tableware. Her pieces, just like the pieces by Momoda, strangely blend in when actually put in use.
Hayashi has been recognized for her style and has been granted awards at Traditional Kogei Exhibitions and at Kobe Biennale. Her private exhibition has also garnered good reviews.

Kneading the clay and turning the pottery wheel

Nakata gave a try at ceramics. He always has a hard time when he’s told he is free to make anything he wants. ”For instance, when he tried ceramics painting and was told he could paint anything he wanted, he was at a loss. He commented about this and Momoda replied, ”I understand. But you should relax and do as you like”.
So it’s time to reset and try from square one. First Nakata was given a lump of clay. This time he decided to start from actually kneading the clay. ”That’s a little too strong,” he was told. At times Momoda would say, ”Oh, you’re doing it differently,” and showed Nakata how he kneads the clay himself. They continued the exchange this way throughout the process. ”One needs to practice the wheel until it becomes an automatic reaction. Just like bicycles. Once you learn how to ride, it’s the same thing.” It was interesting how he explained it so simply. In the end, Nakata made a small cup barely large enough to be a beer glass. Everyone was relieved to see that it was finished.
Momoda and Hayashi also offer ceramics classes. Actually touching the clay and making something helps put ceramics in a different light. The two convey the appeal of ceramics through their own creative activities.

ACCESS

Studio MoMo Ceramics Club
5-2-29 Tsunashimanishi, Kohoku-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture