Hitomi Hosono (Ceramics, 2011)

Hitomi Hosono

Shortlisted in 2011 for Ceramics

I sculpted a leaf that I found in the garden at home. It was a simple leaf, not particularly special amongst other leaves. However, when I started sculpting its shape with clay, I was drawn into its intricacy; the manner in which the veins were branching, how the margins ended. I found many details that I admired in this small leaf.

It is my intention to transfer the leaf’s beauty and detail into my ceramic work, using it as my own language to weave new stories for objects.

A large piece takes around 1 year and 6 months for the whole process. A half year to develop new sprig design and the mould, about one month to complete the porcelain piece itself and about 10-12 months to dry slowly. A small piece takes approximately 4 months to complete, dry, fire and gild.

My technique was initially inspired by Wedgwood’s Jasperware, pioneered by Josiah Wedgwood over 200 years ago, in which thin ceramic reliefs or ‘sprigs’ were applied as surface decoration to a piece. First, I design a leaf or flower sprigs by studying organic botanical forms. I analyze the plant forms by looking, touching and drawing. I examine how the veins of a leaf branch and how its edges are shaped. After the completion of original sprig models and the plaster moulds, I press-mould hundreds of leaf sprigs in porcelain and carefully and patiently carve in the finer details. I then apply the porcelain leaves in layers onto a thrown form on a potter’s wheel. I apply the leaves so densely that the underlying shape is entirely hidden, like the multitude of green leaves which obscure the branches of a tree.

In another strand of my work, I apply delicately moulded and carved leaf and flower sprigs onto small ceramic boxes, enveloping the practical shapes in these natural forms. After high firing, I often gild the insides of these boxes to add to the precious quality of these personal sized objects.

I receive inspiration from greenery in East London. I like rambling with my friend discovering interesting plants. When I find something, I often touch it to feel the texture and to examine the structure. I also like intricate antiques, artworks, and detailed old paintings.