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Mugshot Monday 8.18.2014

Mugshot Monday with Sakai Mika

Sakai Mika is a Japanese ceramic artist, practicing the ancient Japanese technique of Nerikomi.  This process is technical and complicated, but the results are stunning and awe inspiring!  At first glance you may think these mugs have been expertly and precisely glazed, but they have actually only been glazed in a clear gloss which allows the color of tinted clay to shine through. Nerikomi is a technique for creating patterned slabs of clay to hand-build with. The clay body is colored with oxides or today stains are often used, and then patterns are created by stacking different shapes or slices of the tinted clay into a block.  Slabs are then created by slicing each block into a usable sheet of clay which can be formed using slump or hump molds in most cases.  

Sakai Mika began her career in the Arts by studying fashion in Tokyo, where color, pattern and function were of utmost importance to her.  After she graduated, she took her first ceramics course where she learned ceramics and fashion are not all that different from one another. Though the mediums are different, they share the important elements of color, pattern and function.  Sakai Mika then went on to apprentice for two years under one of Japan's foremost practitioners of Nerikomi.  

There are many things we enjoy about Sakai Mika's work.  We love how the patterns encompass the entire form, from rim, to handle, to bottom.  The colors and patterns Sakai Mika has created have been expertly chosen and woven together in patterns that not only catch your eye, but harness your attention. The hand-built forms are simple and understated, allowing the colors and patterns to do all the "talking".  And of these mugs in particular, we really enjoy the unique shapes of the handles, some are simply round, others are geometric (mimicking the patterns within the clay), while others are organic and orb-like, much like a mid-century modern piece of furniture. 

This process is not only complicated, but fascinating!  If you would like to see more of Sakai Mika's amazing work, visit, and if you want to learn more about this incredible process,click here for images and a fantastic explanation of Nerikomi.

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