Under the Scope
If you walk into Scope Gallery and see something that looks good enough to eat— or too good to eat— it is no doubt one of Hiromi’s suite of cupcakes. It may be a mug in the form of a cupcake with a lid looking like frosted icing topped with strawberries and whipped cream, or it may be a set for cream and sugar, sugar and jam, or salt and pepper. These are made with the finest ingredients— for clay, that is porcelain!
Hiromi uses the same decorating materials and techniques as bakers but to achieve her yummy colors she uses Mason Stains instead of food coloring. Stains are oxides that can be used to color glazes, slips, or clay. Mason Stains are commercial stains that are carefully formulated to be lead free so they are food safe. The color of the fired clay is very close to the color of the stain in its raw state providing a lot of control when certain colors are desired. The colors are most vibrant on white clay, such as porcelain. Hiromi likes experimenting with different colors and watching people’s reactions when they look at one of her pieces and simply cannot resist the urge to touch them to see if they are real!
Hiromi is one of the most diverse artists at Scope applying her technical skills to making all sorts of tableware, vases, and lamps. Born and raised in the Aichi Perfecture, Japan, Hiromi recalls ceramics being an integral part of her life. After high school, she left Japan to attend college in California after which she settled in NYC. It was in NYC that she first took up pottery after she discovered a ceramic studio run by Japanese. Her Japanese instructors shed new light on the traditional Japanese ceramics surrounding her as a child. There she mastered pottery basics, and then went to study at Greenwich House Pottery where she learned additional techniques taking a variety of classes, including carving and slip-trailing as well as learning the intricacies of gas reduction firing. Finding herself wanting to better understand how to achieve certain colors, she decided to attend the Brickhouse Ceramic Art Center in Long Island City, NY. She earned a spot as an associate artist and was able to study glazing and under glazing techniques, using Mason Stains, as well as how to formulate glazes.
In addition to ceramics, Hiromi has worked for travel agencies and served as a guide for private tours. She credits her travels as inspiring the diversity in her work.
Fortunately for the D.C. metropolitan area, Hiromi moved to Maryland in 2013 and in 2015 was juried into Scope.
For more of her work, please check her website, hiromiceramics.com.
Torpedo Factory Art Center
105 N. Union St.
Ground Floor, Studio 19
Alexandria, Va 22314.
10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily
Thursday: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Check the Torpedo Factory website for early closings for private events at www.torpedofactory.org/todays-hours/