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Shiho Hayashi
Born in Hyogo. Graduated from Kyoto City University of Arts, majoring in lacquer ware. After working as a jewelry designer, she learned pottery knowledge and techniques at the Tajimi City Ceramic Design Institute. In 2014, she graduated from the Institute and started her career as a ceramic artist based in Tajimi,Gifu.

A ceramic artist from Tajimi, Shiho’s organic, curved works, are reminiscent of the natural world and draw highly perceptive people in particular. She designed the ceramic art piece cap for “dō the perfume." Each of the carefully handcrafted caps has a unique nu-ance, bringing even more sophistication to "dō the perfume" worldview. We interviewed Shiho about her career to date and the feelings she has regarding her creations.

   I wanted to feel the materials and make new things from scratch

I have loved crafts since childhood and decided to go to an art school for college as soon as I entered high school. After high school, I went on to Kyoto City University of Arts, where I majored in lacquer work. I was fascinated by the luster of the lacquer coating and created works with a focus on curved surfaces. However, I could not really see myself making a living from lacquer work in the future, so I did not consider becoming an artist. This was partly because at the time, you did not have as many opportunities to casually showcase your work at craft fairs, stores, and so on as you do today.
I was interested in jewelry design so after graduating from college, I worked at a jewelry design company doing planning and design. Later, I left the company, frustrated at not being given the opportunity to express myself. I decided that I wanted to experience the materials directly and create things from scratch with my own hands. Therefore, I joined the Tajimi City Ceramic Design Institute in Gifu as a research student to learn about pot-tery.
I first became interested in pottery when I went to a pottery fair and saw this huge variety of pottery on display, but not much that caught my eye. So, I thought, "I might as well try to make something myself." I had no idea (laughs).
At the Institute, I studied the basics of ceramics and other art forms for two years, and then began working. This year marks my ninth year as an artist.

   Finding the right balance between randomness and artifice

What I find interesting in the creation of these works is that the clay's excellent plasticity makes it possible to accidentally bring out new forms, and the firing process gives the pieces a multitude of expressions.
Many of my artworks are made from combinations, and I find it interesting that this act creates new forms that I had not anticipated. Compared to stone or wood, clay can be easily added or removed, making it very compatible with the act of combining. Some-times, accidental discoveries through failure give rise to further ideas, which in turn lead to new works.
My recent works have been inspired by stones. I arrange stones of various sizes and cover them with clay slabs. The clay slabs create hills and undulations like waves of wa-ter, forming beautiful ripples. I roll the slab into a cylindrical shape to make a hollow three-dimensional form, and then add or remove clay to create the shape. The nuance of the curved surface changes depending on the moisture content of the clay. I surrender myself to the transformation and try to strike a balance between randomness and artifice to create my artworks. Although nothing can match the beauty of something that has not been artificially created, I strive to take inspiration from the materials and create some-thing that I feel is beautiful and new.

   Curved surfaces and lines that feel beautiful

I have known Misato Matsuo, the founder of dō, for a long time, and we are of the same generation. When she launched dō, I was impressed by how her character and beliefs were embodied in the dō. We both have a strong commitment to craftsmanship, and I be-lieve that we both share the same sense of beauty. That is why I was very happy to be given the opportunity to collaborate with her.
The actual production was a continuous process of trial and error, as many things were completely new to me. We had many meetings to determine how we could incorporate the dō appeal and my own style into a small piece measuring only 6cm square. I believe that in the end, we were able to create something that suited the brand's image.
Most of my artworks are rounded, but do not have a specific motif. What I feel when I ex-perience nature is expressed in the organic lines and surfaces that I create. For me, con-tact with nature is essential, and going out to experience the beauty of nature in between productions is an opportunity to relax and be inspired at the same time. If my artwork somehow evokes a sense of beauty and healing that exists in the natural world, it is probably because I myself am seeking such things in my daily life. I hope that the ceramic art piece caps of "dō the perfume" will bring people a small taste of comfort in their daily lives.