Creating a Sky Full of Stars


Aya Yuki creates wonderfully beautiful works full of subtlety and depth, much like gazing at a star-filled night sky. The more you look, the deeper you can go. And this is reflected in the name she has chosen to brand her work — 天の (tenno). “Ten” means “sky” in a poetic way in Japanese, and a friend suggested the name to her, telling Yuki that she should make millions of works like stars in the sky. We think it is a perfect name.

Aya was born in Nomi City, near Kanazawa in Japan’s Ishikawa Prefecture, which has long been a center for traditional Japanese crafts. She began her career there at Kutani-Yaki Studio. Her inspiration is simple. She is fascinated by the process of applying heat to clay to create a beautiful object.

“There is clay, there is the wheel, there is glaze, and I fire them in kiln,” says Yuki. “I want to inspire people about how this simple process creates such an intricate and complex looking object.”

Her works have a beautiful texture with layers and depths of colors, which we tend to mistake as pottery, but these are actually porcelain. She allows her creations to cool slowly in the kiln, bringing out the subtle colors and hints of sparkles ingrained in them. It’s a stunning effect.

Aya says she has no particular artist who influenced her, but draws daily inspiration from a person who saw her work and taught her about Zen Buddhism. She began to research Zen, and applies it to her life and her work. Her days are always busy, but she has an approach — a mantra — she uses. “Keep calm, it’s ok, is my chant everyday,” says Yuki. “My wish and my hope is that this leads to the truly calm future.”

Examining her exquisite creations, we can see her inspiration and in turn are inspired.

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