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New York based ceramicist Shino Takeda started making her colorful ceramics just four years ago. She found inspiration in her love of cooking and the idea that dishes have different “faces” when accompanied by food. Shino says the glazing process for her is quite similar to cooking, in the way she imagines the final taste and tries to mix different flavors. “Cooking is being aware of the season. Placing food is thinking about the harmony of colors, and these are things I always think about when I cook and make pottery.”
Shino grew up on the Japanese Island of Kyushu, an island known for its pottery. “The northern part of Kyushu Island is close to China and Korea, so there is some influence carrying over into the pottery. Kyushu pottery, like the Arita and Imari variations, has a lot of red and blue colors.” Although Shino says she prefers the wood-fired, earthy, organic, stoneware with no glaze, where you can see the trace of fire, like the Bizen style.
Her mother was an avid collector of art and ceramics, including a collection passed down from her grandfather. Shino brought a few treasured pieces to New York when she moved, including a Shishi lion Seidou metal incense holder that when you light the incense, smoke comes out from his mouth! (Below in the bottom right corner).
What childhood memories influenced your ceramic style?
My parents loved nature and art. We would climb a mountain at 3 am to see the sunrise, drive 2 hours to see beautiful fireflies, or drive 3 hours to see the Vincent Van Gogh painting “Sunflowers” etc. Their attitude and those experiences definitely influenced my ceramic style and method.
What brought you to New York from Japan?
When I was 20, I came to pursue a ballet career. The ballet didn't quite work out, but I loved New York since the day I arrived and decided to stay.
What do you miss about Japan?
The hot springs and amazing tofu dishes, which I enjoy every couple of years when I go home.
Do you have any mentors or ceramicists whose work has inspired you?
Rosanjin - who was a calligrapher, ceramicist, painter, chef and restaurant owner. His vision of beauty is something I appreciate and admire.
What is your favorite part about the creation process?
Glazing. I use an electric kiln in New York, so glazing is a big part of my work. When I do wood-firing, I leave it up to nature and hope that the God of fire is next to me!
Is there a reason you choose to hand build over wheel throwing or slip casting?
I want each piece of my work to have a personality, and I believe hand pinching communicates that the best. Also I don't like things that move automatically. I can’t leave work without finishing the shape in same day.
What type of clay do you use?
Red clay with grog, speckled pink clay, and black clay.
What part of New York do you live in?
We live in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood in Brooklyn. There’s not much happening in my neighborhood yet. That’s why I like it here. Everyone walking around here pretty much lives here.
Any favorite neighborhood place to escape or relax?
Our apartment! It is our castle. We love having friends over and cooking.
Favorite thing to do in NYC?
Going to museums and galleries to get inspiration.