Akiko Hirai

Akiko Hirai makes practical ware using the Japanese tradition of allowing the clay itself to show the way in which it wants to be fired. By focusing on the interaction between object and viewer, Hirai’s work allows the beholder to discover the language of the objects in their own way.

Hirai’s Moon Jars are influenced by the Korean examples of the 17th and 18th centuries. Her desire to make them has to do with their innate imperfection and balance within their environment. The imperfection of her Moon Jars is purposeful; she believes that when we see something imperfect or unfinished, our eyes try to make it into a perfect form, and as a result, our imagination is engaged.


  • 1970 Shizuoka, Japan


  • 2002-03 BA (Hons) Ceramics, Central Saint Martins, London
  • 2000-02 BA (Hons) Ceramics, University of Westminster
  • 1989-93 Bachelor of Letters (equivalent to BPhil) Cognitive Psychology, Aichi Gakuin University, Aichi, Japan


  • 2014 Sake Ware Competition, Tamba Craft Museum, Japan
  • 2011 Fellow Membership, Craft Potters Association
  • 2006 Professional Membership, Craft Potters Association
  • 2005 Development Award, Craft Potters Charitable Trust

Selected Exhibitions

  • 2019 Solo Show, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh
  • 2018 Solo Show, Contemporary Ceramics, London
  • 2018 Solo Show, Flow Gallery, London
  • 2018 Things of Beauty Growing, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
  • 2017 Moonstruck, Taste Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 2017 Solo Exhibition, Sladers Yard, Bridport
  • 2017 Earth and Fire, Harley Gallery, Nottingham
  • 2017 Home from Home, Contemporary Applied Arts, London
  • 2017 Solo Show, Beaux Arts, Bath
  • 2017 Group Show, Maud and Mabel, London
  • 2017 Things of Beauty Growing, The British Art Centre, Yale, USA
  • 2017 In Praise of Shadow (Solo), The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh
  • 2016 Getemono (Solo), Contemporary Ceramics, London
  • 2016 Solo Show, Lynne Strover Gallery, Cambridge
  • 2016 Vase, National Craft Gallery, Ireland
  • 2016 Kisaragi, Flow Gallery, London
  • 2016 Solo Exhibition, New Craftsmen, St. Ives
  • 2015 Japanese Ceramic Sculpture, Galerie Le Don du Fel, France
  • 2015 Celebration of British Studio Pottery, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh
  • 2015 Solo Exhibition, Oxford Ceramics, Oxford
  • 2014 Young Clay, Keramikmuseum Westerwald, Germany
  • 2013 Akiko Hirai, Still Life, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh
  • 2013 Solo Exhibition, Mr. Kitly, Australia
  • 2013 Moon Jar, Korean Cultural Centre, London
  • 2013 Young Clay, Keramiekcentrum Tiendschuur, Tegelen, Netherlands
  • 2013 Akiko Hirai 10 Years On, CPA Gallery, London
  • 2012 The Salon NY, Modern Gallery, New York, USA
  • 2011 Through 50, CPA Gallery, London
  • 2009 Insight Beauty, Japanese Embassy, London
  • 2006 Art from Japan, The Hill House, Scotland, National Trust for Scotland

Selected Publications

  • 2017 New York Times
  • 2015 Financial Times, September
  • 2014 Wall Street Journal, June
  • 2014 Glaze - the ultimate ceramic artist’s guide to glaze and colour, Brian Taylor and Kate Foody
  • 2011 Advanced Pottery and Colour in Glazes, Linda Bloomfield
  • 2011 Contemporary Ceramic Practices, Louisa Taylor
  • 2011 Ceramic Bible, Louisa Tayor


  • Keramikmuseum Westerwald, Germany

Contact Us

Artist Enquiries

Please call the gallery if you have any questions.

+44 (0)20 7620 0086 / shop@caa.org.uk