A native of the ancient capital city of Kyoto, Momoko Takeshita-Ke
ane, from the earliest stages of her life, grew up surrounded by the rich
cultural and spiritual traditions of Japanese art and craft. Fascinated by
an old, broken piece of roof tile she found lying on the ground as a child,
she became interested in clay as a material—its malleable properties
and innate ability to be transformed. She studied to become
a potter in the renowned kiln-town of Shigaraki, one of the “Six Old Kilns”
of Japan known for its abundant clay beds, then spent two years
researching traditional glazes and clay bodies at the Kyoto Labora
tory of Traditional Crafts, where she was one of three women in a class of
twenty. Her work follows two artistic paths—functional and sculptural,
drawn from images of nature like plants and primitive animal forms.
To form her pieces, Takeshita-Keane employs a pinch-built method,
after which the surface of clay is textured bypaddling, stretching,
or stippling using a variety of metal or woodencrafting tools.
Once dry, the piece is fired, unglazed, in a wood-fired kiln, where the
color of the surface serendipitously results from the effects of flame
and wood ash that are inherent to a wood-fired kiln.
The artist now lives and works out of a studio in Ithaca, New York.