Ceramic Artist

53/ In The Studio With Noe Kuremoto

We are excited to introduce Noe Kuremoto, who will be joining the PE roster of artists Wednesday 9th with the launch of her debut collection of ceramics.

The Osaka-born ceramic artist is known for playful sculptural work that takes the form of functional wares. Her pieces mix child-like simplicity with contemporary sophistication, and incorporate her background in Fine Art and design with her cultural heritage.


 
 
 

How did you become an artist, what's your training and background?

I was born in Osaka Japan, and graduated in Fine Art with First Class Honours from Central Saint Martins College of Art. I am mainly a ceramic artist who makes everything by hand using just simple tools. I like making playful sculptural work with my cultural heritage. I share the traditional Japanese view that spirits are everywhere, especially in nature – for me the truth of our universe can be found in the wilderness.


 
 
 

Talk us through the inspiration behind each of your different series in this collection?

I'll be releasing works across four of my different collections: Satori, Haniwa Warriors, Dogu Ladies, and Iwashi, each is inspired by sculptures and mythologies from Japanese history. I accompany most collections with a manifesto.

Satori

When Japanese Mountain Gods appear as children, they are known as Satori. Satori can read your mind. They can speak your thoughts faster than words fall from your lips. Should they hear you lie, they might kill, or even eat you. From an early age, I knew what their story meant - that every lie you tell brings your soul a little closer to death. In Japan, the death of your soul is worse than death itself.

Growing up, there was a little Satori statue next to the front door of our family home. It reminded us not to lie, no matter how good a solution to suffering it might seem. It stood as a reminder for us to accept the truth, and the world, as it is - to let life unfold honestly around us. Most importantly, it told us not to lie to ourselves.

I didn’t take this folktale seriously until my son, who just turned 3, started to lie. I was appalled. Someone I love so dearly learning to lie, to make his life more comfortable. I want my children not to lie. To tell them that although it does not always feel safe to speak the truth, the lie is much more dangerous. How could I explain? I recalled the story of the Satori, that ‘faith to the truth’ is the only way to make your soul indestructible. I took the opportunity to look at myself, really look - and discovered a million lies of my own. I had to stop, so my kids could FEEL what it’s like to have the courage not to lie. It’s not enough to tell them off, tell them how to behave, I must show them.

So my journey to strengthen the soul began. Please join me if you like. Let’s really listen to what we say, let’s FEEL the sensation of our words - and live truly, with Satori beside us, to keep us honest.

 
 
 
 

Haniwa Warriors

My Haniwa series are inspired by the traditional clay figures buried with the dead during the Kofun period of Japan, in the belief the Haniwa would protect souls in the after life. My hope is that my Haniwa will protect our souls in this world.

Manifesto:

For years I was afraid to become a full time artist.
Afraid to voice my honest view of the world.
Afraid to sacrifice the security and comfort of my day job.
Afraid to admit it was killing my soul.
Afraid of confrontation.
So I stayed agreeable - to avoid it, at all costs.
I did it long enough that I could no longer hear my own voice - the voice that said what I really want to do is make art.
I kept quiet, so no one would know I was failing at my true calling.
It became my deep, dark secret.
I was too scared to lose that end of the month paycheck.
I’d tell myself – You have a mortgage, a family.
A legitimate excuse, socially acceptable.
But my soul grew weaker and weaker, the more I didn’t demand the best from myself.
I became my worst self.
Who could kill my own soul.
This is how I came to make my Haniwa.
I would like to share them with you.
Especially you who are ready to take on your maximum challenge.
One you’ve longed for in your heart, longer than you care to admit.
Let us stand up, our souls united, stronger for taking this important true step together.
All my strength to you.
I salute you.

 
 
 
 

Dogu Ladies

The Dogu Ladies are mysterious female figurines from prehistoric Japan (14,000-400BC approx). With big eyes, accentuated large breasts and wide hips, they are widely held to be symbols of fertility, a promise of safe delivery for baby and mother, hope for the continuation of life.

Manifesto:

A talisman for women.
For the woman who wants a child but fears the risk to her career.
For the woman who stares down the challenge of infertility.
For the woman who pumps every 3 hours to freeze her milk for the nanny.
For the woman who steps up to run the meeting without decent sleep for months.
For the woman who doubts her ability to be a mum.
For the woman who makes more money than her partner and worries how the home will run when her newborn arrives.
For the woman who just had a baby and faces the intense, non-stop process of piecing together her new life.
For the woman who seeks a second career after her children start school.
For the woman who thought she could return to work after 6 months but isn’t ready to leave her child at the nursery.
All power to you.
I am sending my power to you all.

 
 
 
 

Iwashi

In Japan we have Setsubun festival. Setsubun is the day before the beginning of spring. When we were kids, we helped making a door decoration Hiiragi Iwashi, literally ‘holly sardine’ is a cooked sardine head impaled on a holly branch. My mother used to source these fish bones from our local sushi shop. We believe that demons which brings illness does not like the strong smell of sardines and they fear getting their eyes poked by the sharp points on holly leaves.

Anyhow, I thought this smelly decoration is too intense for our London neibours so I started to make these vases so I can place our holly leaves for our Setsubun celebration and somehow people kept asking me for these fish born vases so they became my permanent collection! Just a little smelly curious story.

 
 
 
 

FOLLOW NOE

@noe_kuremoto_ceramics

Learn more about Noe Kuremoto's work.

Photography by Kestutis Zilionis and Lina Jushke


 


Noe Kuremoto's work

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