⟨ Art ⟩

Yoko Komae

Starting a Pottery Career in One’s 60s

Words / Ron Lam
Translation / Iris Heung

小前洋子在52歲的時候,在千葉縣買了一塊近500平方米的土地,用了50平方米來建自己的居所,其餘的,她打算用來耕作,種植自己日常所需的蔬菜。不過後來佔據了土地的,卻不是農田,而是她的陶藝工房。從東京遷往千葉縣不久,她到鄰近的陶藝教室學陶,隨即對之沉迷不已,五年後,她在土地上建了自己的工房,開始製陶,至2014年,她以陶藝家的身份開辦了首個開人展覽,當日時她64歲。

小前洋幾乎只造花瓶,但花瓶不為襯托花卉的美而誕生,它們本身就是美麗的雕塑。她的作品有著非常獨特的氣質,粗線條的,不太精緻,彷如遠古已存在的生物,擁抱過萬物變遷,面對世事無常都一貫自在,因此才能展示出俏皮、充滿幽默感卻又凜然穩重的姿態。

最近,小前洋子開始了她的人像系列,頭上開出花卉的人們,每一個面帶著祥和的微笑。大部份這類人面造形的花瓶,不是太過可愛便是太具壓迫感,小前洋子則以平淡的用色與柔和的線條,使之變得平易近人。我常覺得作品會透露創作者的心理年齡,大概一定的人生閱歷,才懂得如何於紛紛擾擾的現世裡,仍能明確地表現自己,卻不致於劍拔弩張。

小前洋子的作品,可於東京的CALL找到。

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.