The End of February
Well, thankfully, it's almost the end of March, but "The End of February" is the title of a new exhibition of Akiko Hirai's ceramics at Flow Gallery in London's Notting Hill.
We absolutely love Hirai's beautiful pieces, particularly the gorgeously textured Moon Jars made using the Kohiki technique. So we were thrilled to have been asked by the gallery owner to show some of our indigo kala cotton textiles, and a radhi rug alongside these fabulous vessels.
The title of the exhibition is inspired by a chapter in The Pillow Book, a classic of Japanese literature written a thousand years ago, in which the changing of the seasons are observed and expressed through the art of Waka poetry (put very simply: a poem of two halves).
Hirai believes her ceramics to be only half finished, to be completed by the person who uses them, and in the way in which they are used.
Thus, she suggests that the completion of her Moon Jars would be the addition of the owner's flowers. Her cups are not cups until the owner drinks tea from them. It's a lovely, humble concept.
These bottles are inspired by the still life paintings of Giorgio Morandi. Hirai again explores the theme of the painter "completing" the objects by their way of seeing the objects.
Hirai's method for injecting a sense of character into the bottles is to throw them freely, allowing the necks of the bottles to lean asymmetrically which gives them almost a human "posture", reflecting life into lifeless objects.
"The End of February" is at Flow Gallery, 1-5 Needham Road, London W11 2RP until 20 May 2016.