Yoko Komae

Starting a Pottery Career in One’s 60s





At the age of 52, Yoko Komae bought a plot of land measuring almost 500 square meters in Chiba Prefecture. After using 50 square meters to build a home for herself, she planned to turn the rest of the plot into farmland to grow her own vegetables. However, what ended up occupying the area was instead her pottery studio. After relocating from Tokyo to Chiba Prefecture, she started to learn ceramics in the workshops nearby and instantly got obsessed. Five years later, she built a studio on her own land and started making ceramics. In the year of 2014, she held her first own solo exhibition as a ceramics artist. At that time, she was 64 years old.

Yoko Komae’s clay-work collection is almost entirely made up of vases, which are not made only to complement the flowers but exist as beautiful pieces of sculpture by essence. Her designs carry a distinctive character which is rustic and primitive as if they were some prehistoric creatures. Having stood the test of time, the vases look playful and humorous, but also sturdy and confident at the same time.

Recently, Yoko Komae has started her portrait series that features vases in the shape of a human head that carries a gentle smile. The flowers would, therefore, appear to be sprouting from the top of the heads. Vases of such designs would usually look either too cliché or too overwhelming, but Komae’s use of mild colors and soft lines has made the works very approachable. I always believe how a piece of work can reflect the mental age of the creator. In the mundanity of life, perhaps only with a certain amount of life experience and sophistication can one express themselves in an acute yet subtle way.

The clay-works of Yoko Komae are available at CALL in Tokyo.