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Makiko Hastings Beautiful Ceramics

September 5, 2014

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For some time now I’ve been looking at (and lusting after) the work of Makiko Hastings. I first came across her ceramics at the YSP Shop.  She makes a whole host of different ranges and styles. Firstly there is a range that is pierced so that once it has been baked and glazed it allows the light to show through.

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More decorative work (based on the idea of lily pads) using decorative and delicate floral transfers.

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Makiko explained a little to me about her other styles of work.

“Below is the Mazekoze range. The word means ‘mixing up’ in Japanese and this collection is more focused on the form.  The bowls are all hand thrown then altered into flower shape. To highlight the shape, I only use one colour of glaze. The plates are actually hand built then I add a surface pattern.  I mix the glaze by a traditional method without using a ready made colorant.  I tested and experimented for quite a long time in order to get what I wanted. I know I can buy any colours from the supplier today, but I still believe my own philosophy of handmade – i.e. in doing it yourself !  I wanted nice colour combinations of two colours, but not like green and brown which is too traditional. So when yellow ochre and grey came out successfully… I was really chuffed. I am planning to add purple and olive in the future. ”

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Makiko first makes the bowls to the exact size she wants, she keeps a guide to tell her how deep and how far across each size of bowl should be. Then she forms the wet bowl into the shape she desires, and continues to do this for every larger size of bowl so that, when they’re fired and dry and shrink, they all do so at the same rate and therefore the bowls will sit beautifully within one another with equal space around them. It’s a real skill to be able to do this consistently.

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Makiko likes the idea of people mixing up her range with shapes and colours.

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My personal favourite range is her Rakugaki ware (this means ‘doodling’ in Japanese). Makiko takes up the story…”When I first started this range, I wanted to express something unplanned, spontaneous like the doodling you do on a piece of paper whilst you are on the phone etc. I wanted to make something casual and fun. I used line drawling like you do with a pen rather than painting with brush. So I chose a ceramic crayon to draw on bisque ware.  I suppose it can be screen transferred or something if you wanted a clear and precise line drawing like a normal pen can do, but to me that was too sharp and too modern. I wanted it to be more random and imperfect, so the rough line from the ceramic crayon was just perfect. I used to draw items such as chairs and lamp, houses, clouds, ladders and spiders. The range was successful and sold well. You can see in the photos below, my rakugaki ware displayed within the stand at my college show. The crayon was black so when I glazed with white, the line became blue. Hence the blue and white range came to life. ”

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” Later on I started to find that crayon drawing was limited and when I wanted a bold blue somewhere in the drawing I had to fill the whole space with crayon.  So I’ve changed the application and now use slip (coloured liquid clay) instead. Slip is applied on the unfired surface, then I scratch over the area to make a negative white over blue, or visa versa.  I used a brush to apply the slip at first, but I didn’t like that the fact that edge can be blurry and not sharp enough.  So I used newspaper and cut out shapes prior to applying the slip. Sort of like stencilling. Now I am very pleased with the result, as my blue and white doodling has much more crisp edges but still has the sense of fun. I rarely use sketchbooks. In particular for rakugaki, I don’t plan so much, I just start cutting out newspaper and make design up as I go. But I tend to ‘draw’ what I like, such as birds, nature, kitchen items etc.”

I think this range has reached a wonderful final stage where each cup, bowl etc is unique and with it’s simplistic colouring, you can easily mix and match any designs. Beautiful work Makiko.

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You can see some of the process work here.

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I must track down Makiko’s work somewhere nearby and grab myself one of these lovely mugs.

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Makiko has her first solo exhibition on at the Ropewalk Gallery in North Lincolnshire from October 4th to November 2nd, featuring a collection of her ‘mazekoze’ work.  If you’re in the area do drop by and buy something. Failing that here’s a list of other stockists  and do keep an eye on her blog for more images and information.  Thanks to Makiko for answering questions about her work and sending such great images to illustrate this post.

If you enjoyed this post you may also like the work of RAMP Ceramics and Katrin Moye, I’ve featured previously.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2014 8:40 am

    These are beautiful! The blue white ceramic is oldskool but the designs are definitely contemporary. Great mix that works really well! X

    • September 5, 2014 10:21 am

      Thanks Lizzie, yep more stunning work to adorn our homes : )

  2. 54paintings permalink
    September 8, 2014 11:46 am

    Lovely stuff, I was watching the new set in the 60s Scandic Murder series on tv the other night, paying way too much attention to the ceramics in the background rather than the plot. So good of you to include the ‘where to buy’ link, shame they are all a long way from where I am!

    • September 8, 2014 1:00 pm

      Hopefully one day they’ll be big enough to be stocked near to you too : ) Is it dangerous to sometimes wish for such things lol

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