Meet the artist using a secret Japanese technique to create amazing porcelain ceramics

Watch and learn as Eiko Maeda makes extraordinary ceramics using an intricate and delicate Japanese art called "nerikomi."

Watch and learn as Eiko Maeda makes extraordinary "nerikomi" ceramics

Eiko Maeda takes us into her studio to show us how she is using the Japanese nerikomi technique to create her extraordinary ceramics. 3:43

At first glance, the delicate patterns on Eiko  Maeda's porcelain bowls and plates look hand-painted, with each flower or shape intricately different from the other. But when you hold the bowl in your hands, the texture and translucence of the porcelain suggests there's something more complex going on here. The secret to her unique ceramics is an extraordinary Japanese technique called "nerikomi."

Maeda, who immigrated to Canada from Japan in 2004, travelled back to Japan four years ago to learn the technique from a master in the field, Eiji Murofushi. The art requires an incredible amount of patience and precision in order to create the signature inlaid patterns. Maeda hand-builds each ceramic by layering coloured clay into shapes and then slicing through to reveal patterns. 

"I'm doing ceramics, but it's not just a job for me," Maeda says. "It's rather I want to show how I am, who I am."

(Plum pattern bowl by Eiko Maeda)

In this video, Maeda speaks to CBC Arts about why she wanted to create her designs with nerikomi, and then shows us how she makes these incredible ceramics. She allowed us to watch each step of the technique — except the secret firing process that she learned from her master, Murofushi, which she prefers to keep under wraps.

Watch Exhibitionists on Friday nights at 12:30am (1am NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4pm NT) on CBC Television.

About the Author

Mercedes Grundy

Mercedes Grundy has been producing videos for CBC Arts and Exhibitionists since 2015. She is a unabashed Leonardo DiCaprio enthusiast with an educational background in photography, and produces film and theatre when not busy here at the CBC. And while her love for the arts does not discriminate, she openly acknowledges she is a horrible dancer.

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