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Ikuko Iwamoto – I’m going… hard

Without sounding sinister or perverse, I’m going hard, that is in the opposite way to going soft of course. I am a trained textile designer, I knit, sew and crochet for fun but recently I’ve found myself drawn to the dark side of the tracks… to the dark and delicate world of ceramics. I never got on with the creation of ceramics, its too messy, I prefer textiles. I blame Ed the owner of Snug Gallery in Hebden Bridge for this hard edge departure (it may be a passing phase) his clever selection and curation of beautiful ‘pots’ presented surrounded by prints and textiles are what really turned my head. Ed’s photographs of Ikuko’s work (the black & white images) show how fabulously they are displayed, I just wish I could have purchased every one of this new collection. I’m scared of breaking ceramics, textiles bounces, well you know what happens if you drop a plate!

My obsession is with one designer in particular, Ikuko Iwamoto. I have had an interest in Japan for years and cited many Japanese textile designers as my inspiration whilst studying, teaching and creating textiles so its possibly no surprise that it was a Japanese ceramicist that drew me towards the hard stuff. I don’t ‘know’ ceramics like I know textiles but I can of course compare them, it is simplicity that is its beauty. It would be rude to suggest that Japanese textiles and ceramics are not overcomplicated because their complexity is integral but disguised in a generally speaking muted colour palette.

I now own three of Ikuko’s pieces and each is a delight, they fit with each other and they fit in my living space. I love neutrality when its not a wall flower, that is neutral enough to fit varying context but bold enough to make a statement. Ikuoko’s vessels look like they have crawled out of the sea, obviously inspired by urchins, octopus and rocks. Smooth versus speckled and organically dinted, the forms are so tactile but incredibly delicate, you have to touch but at the same time you are reluctant because of their fragility. Right I’m gonna go and stroke my vessel.