As one of the first female graduates from the prestigious ceramics department of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Koike Shoko is among very few women ceramists of her generation to support herself as a studio-artist. In so doing, she has become one of the most recognized female ceramists in Japan with works in museum collections throughout the world. Koike draws inspiration from the sea, creating shell-inspired forms in shigaraki stoneware with irregular, undulating, pinched, ruffled edges that protrude from her hand-built and wheel-thrown bodies. A creamy white, opaque glaze covers her forms and the edges are further accentuated with brown iron glaze and sometimes supplemented with metallic, iridescent or turquoise glazes.
Shōko’s ceramics tantalise in their reflection of sea-forms and simple, shell-like densities that dismantle boundaries between animal and vessel. Shōko matured in a period with precious few female ceramicist contemporaries within Japan, becoming one of the first to graduate from the celebrated Tokyo National University of Fine Art & Music — and subsequently well known as an artist throughout Japan. “Barnacle” exhibits a rough figure, the abstract and modular form thrown by wheel in Shigaraki clay then teased into final shape by hand. The piece is finished in her traditional and signature creamy white glaze that blends with the texture of the earthenware.