Beauty In Imperfection – A Portrait of Japanese Potter Akiko Hirai


Akiko Hirai is one of those potters that’s never been featured here before, but I’ve seen her work up-close in person many times and have enjoyed reading bits and bobs about her pottery. So I was very pleased to see that photographer and filmmaker Dan Fontanelli has made a short portrait on her work and has captured some of the making processes at her London studio.

Akiko was born in Japan in 1970 and creates ceramic tableware and vases that use dark textured clay contrasting with a lighter glaze on the body. One thing that became apparent when watching this film is the variety of techniques used by Akiko Hirai. For example, you will see a combination of hand building, coiling, using the wheel, as well as a number of glazing techniques that are quite new to me. This experimentation is key to her philosophy of working with nature and the idea of “beauty in imperfection”.

This ideology even cuts through to each separate object, hoping to make individual works that get better with age and patina nicely, alongside telling a nice story. So much so that Hirai likes to build a theme around the pots to incorporate unique markings and elements. Overall I hope you like this introduction to her work and will watch on below to see more.