Born in Japan in 1970. In 1999 she moved to London to study ceramics at the University of Westminster and later Central St. Martins.
Akiko Hirai uses rough dark clay, and often glazes in white, creating a veil between the rough forms underneath and the smooth clam of the glazed exterior. Her range is extensive, with small delicate tableware showing alongside giant moon jars and deep salty bowls or intensely glazed platters.
Akiko makes practical ware using the Japanese tradition of allowing the nature of the clay to play a part in how it should be fired. Her work embodies something of the aesthetic of ‘wabi sabi’; an appreciation of the asymmetry, roughness, intimacy and integrity of natural objects and the processes which allow them into being. Hers is a unique, fluid approach to making.