Originally from Japan, Hitomi Hosono’s experience is rooted both in Japanese and European traditions. Before settling in the UK, she studied Kutani pottery in Japan and ceramics in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her beautiful and intricate porcelain creations are inspired by leaves and flowers from the garden; each petal, vein, stamen and intricate is noted, carved and recreated with exquisite care and attention. Hitomi’s love of nature shines through in her work and naturally, we are huge fans of her awe-inspiring, botanical creations. It was with great pleasure that we spoke to Hitomi to find out more about her passions, work and love of flowers.
Tell us about yourself, Hitomi, how would you describe what you do in your own words?
My intention is to transform the infinite beauty into my delicate porcelain sculptures.
In nature, beauty arises from the earth; in my work, I try to bring to life plant forms from clay, which is earth itself. I do not try to improve upon nature. That cannot be done. Instead, I try to find the essence of what makes leaves and flowers beautiful and attempt to transfer this infinite and complex beauty into my ceramic work.
What sparked your interest in porcelain and ceramics?
I just love the feeling of porcelain, smooth, gentle, soft but chilled like petals in the early morning. And I like porcelain because I can freely make organic forms. Also, it is magical material. As I work with the material, more ideas come. It guides me to develop my initial idea in my head to something more unexpected (but good way).
Can you talk us through your creative process?
First, I design a leaf or flower sprigs by studying organic botanical forms. I analyze the plant forms by looking, touching and drawing. Then I make hundreds of leaf sprigs in porcelain with moulds and carefully and patiently carve the finer details. I then apply the porcelain leaves in layers onto a form thrown on a potter’s wheel. I apply the leaves so densely that the underlying shape is entirely hidden, like the multitude of green leaves which obscure the branches of a tree.
Why botanical designs?
They speak to my great admiration of beauty in nature. I find myself drawn to the intricacy of plants, examining how the veins of a leaf branch and how its edges are shapes. I am always keen to find the essence of what makes leaves and flowers beautiful.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I am fascinated by botanical forms; the veins of a leaf, the shape of its edges and the layering of a flower’s petals. I receive inspiration from greenery in London. Often when rambling, I discover interesting plants; touching them to feel the texture and to examine the structure. I like to study the microscopic detail of plants.
Do you have a favourite flower or plant?
One of my favourite flowers is the chrysanthemum. We always had them somewhere in my old home in Japan. My family liked to grow them in our garden for home decoration and to offer them to Buddha on the altar; this reminds me so much of my childhood.
What are you working on now and what is in store for the future?
Pine trees, in particular, bonsai. When I observe trees in nature closely, it teaches me the beauty of imperfection. A tree does not always grow up straight. It is sometimes bent, curved and therefore not symmetrical. Some are heavily twisted or blown down by the harsh weather. But they are still surviving and look wonderful. These are all part of a great nature. I feel deeply connected to them as they mirror our human experiences in life.
Until now, most of my porcelain pieces were symmetric forms aiming perfection. However, I would like to transfer imperfect beauty in nature to my new work. In this sense, bonsai’s ability to portray the majesty of the natural environment inspired me. Bonsai is not only just a miniature version of the large landscape but also a reflection of personal inner feeling. The philosophy of bonsai respects life and death; I would like to create new porcelain work with this bonsai spirit.
Where can we see your work next?
TEFAF Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands 8 – 18 March 2018
TEFAF New York Spring, New York, USA 3 – 8 May 2018
Masterpiece, London 27 June – 4 July 2018
Pavilion Art & Design London 1 – 7 October 2018
Photos courtesy of Adrian Sassoon