Pottery beyond imagination
- Words / Elva Pang
- Photography / Courtesy of SHOKKI
- Translation / Fanny Chan
- Japanese Translation / Ian Tsang
Seven years ago, Ryo Fujii hand-pinched a set of misshapen white mugs and then hand-painted them with drawings in blue. With a rough surface that looks like water ripples, these mugs are bizarre yet playful. Fujii named this set of mugs, Untitled, and they are the premier release from his ceramic collection, SHOKKI. “My partner brought me into the world of pottery. It started out as a hobby, but then a few months later, the idea of turning it into an art project came up. This is how SHOKKI was born.” Shokki means tableware in Japanese, but its namesake collection by Fujii is, however, not confined by such definition. Fujii’s SHOKKI collection features tableware, flower pots, containers, trash cans and decorations etc. These works to some might not be on par with perfection, but they all come across as blunt, vibrant, and unique. To Fujii, these works are full of meanings and emotions, and what’s more, they can make people laugh. “It’s difficult to define my style because I rarely review my work. But since I enjoy the process of shaping a lot, I’d therefore say shape is the most important element in the SHOKKI collection.”
The most amazing thing about pottery is probably the fact that you can never guess how exactly your work will turn out. Opening a kiln is like welcoming a newborn child — always full of surprises. “Before opening the kiln, I often wonder whether I can gracefully welcome my own work — especially those works that might come out differently from what I expect. I feel like I am the one who is always judging and questioning my own work.” Even so, Fujii is still very much devoted to creating. He is inspired to introduce new projects constantly, and bring on a new theme every season. He also collaborates with different brands and magazines, and holds exhibitions and workshops from time to time. “I want to do something other than just making tableware. Maybe I will try experimenting with materials rather than clay. I also want to collaborate with a brand or person that can hardly be associated with me in an unexpected way. It might come off as a joke, but it’s not a bad idea to collaborate with a bathroom maker! ” If there really is a SHOKKI x bathroom collaboration, bathroom visits will certainly become a fun and interesting experience.
While traditional Japanese pottery is known for its subtle and natural forms, every piece from SHOKKI is distinctive in nature. They have the magic to transform the atmosphere in a room. “Take the wall clock that I recently created as an example. It might be difficult to tell the exact time from it, but then, it opens up a new perspective, as in, how we can spend time in a totally different way. It slows us down.” For Ryo Fujii, the pottery made by ordinary people is more inspiring than those created by celebrated artists. After all, simplicity is the most captivating.