I was born in Sapporo, Japan and grew up in Tokyo. But I never touched clay until I came to the United States. When I moved to Boston, I didn’t bring many things like plates and bowls from Japan. I love cooking and I wanted nice tableware. But it was hard to find what I needed to go with my cooking. That’s the reason I started pottery. I wanted to make that special bowl and plate that shows off food at its most delicious. The dishes should be beautiful with or without food. That was my first goal.
Recently I became interested in low-fire, salt vapor firing and started studying it at Glassell School under Shane Tidmore. The low-fire salt process produces such a variety of colors and patterns‑ all made by flame, not by the glaze. No matter how many times I fire the kiln, I still get a nervous thrill every time I unload it. For this firing, I tried to make simple shapes like bottles to capture the beauty of nature. I’m trying to express the beauty of nature in my work and this is my second goal.
Naoko began her ceramics studies at the Radcliffe Ceramics Studio, Boston, MA, in 1992, where studied for three years under Makoto Yabe. After Radcliffe, she moved to Tokyo, Philadelphia, Chicago in turn, and then to Houston in 2001. She continues to study ceramics at the Glassell School of Art in Houston, Texas.
Her pottery is also exhibited in Houston at Kubo’s, a Japanese restaurant, and at Keiko Gallery, Boston.