Momoko Takeshita Keane was raised in the ancient capital of Kyoto, Japan, and grew up surrounded by the many traditional crafts of that city. One day, when she was young, she found a piece of old roof tile lying on the ground. She was fascinating by clay as a material — its ability to be shaped and fired.
She studied to be a potter in the famous kiln-town of Shigaraki at a time when few women were to be found as apprentices there and then spent a couple years in the Kyoto Laboratory of Traditional Crafts learning many aspects of traditional glazes and clay bodies. After that, She went out on her own, starting her own studio in Kyoto and in Ithaca (USA). But, it’s still clay, simply clay, that fascinates her.
All these works were made in the US between 2014 and 2019, while Momoko was living in Ithaca, NY. The works are all tebineri (coil-built) forms, not wheel thrown. Once complete, yet while the clay is still soft, Momoko textures the surfaces. The ones with vertically scratched lines were treated with bamboo and metal tools, while the teapots and the work called Fissure, were stippled with a stiff brush. They were then fired for 3-5 days in an anagama (wood-fired kiln). None of the works were glazed. All the surface coloring is the result of the natural wood ash that builds up in the kiln.
About the works entitled Embrace, this series has been very well received. Pieces from the series were accepted to five of the most important contemporary ceramic/craft competitions, including these:
Smithsonian Craft Show, 2016
Taiwan Ceramics Biennale, 2016
Triennale of Kogei in Kanazawa, Japan, 2017
International Ceramics Festival, Mino, Japan, 2017
Korean International Ceramic Biennale, Gyeonggi, 2019