Japan’s ceramic traditions and concept of beauty, which resonate throughout the world among lovers of design, persist in earth-toned tea-ware that is made in the same spirit of muted, poetic simplicity, and vases, cups and other containers that express the wabi-sabi acceptance of ageing and imperfection, inspired by nature. At the same time, there is a spirit of free and playful experimentation in contemporary Japanese ceramics, which is open to other influences too, including the interaction of Japanese and British traditions as initiated by Bernard Leach. This freedom is particularly notable in the work of artists such as Mizuyo Yamashita who were born in Japan but have moved to London, to study and set up studios here. Their influences are diverse, from ancient Egypt to contemporary Western art. Each of the artists presented in Form & Surface has found a unique form of expression, experimenting with clays, textures, colours, firing, glazes, time, light and shadow, to form works that possess the empathetic traces of human touch and thought in the making process, and encompass a spirit that is both ancient and modern, timeless and of one moment in time.

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