Brand Snapshot | The Wedgwood Artist in Residence Programme
Wedgwood announces its unprecedented collaboration with artist-in-residence Hitomi Hosono.
The Wedgwood Artist in Residence programme celebrates the brand’s renowned heritage of innovation and craftsmanship dating back to 1759. This week at Masterpiece London, Wedgwood unveil a collection of new jasper pieces by the artist Hitomi Hosono, represented by Adrian Sassoon, its first ever artist-in-residence. The beautiful, new designs will represent the creative outcome of sharing knowledge and expertise and harnessing outstanding artisan talent to Wedgwood’s traditional, time-honoured techniques.
Though Wedgwood has always prided itself on innovation, allowing a celebrated artist to work alongside its factory technicians was a bold departure for the firm. Much of what Hitomi originally wanted to do was so imaginative and intricate as to present a complex challenge. But a year on, with much experimentation along the way, Hitomi and Wedgwood have triumphantly combined forces to create these long-awaited limited editions.
Hitomi grew up surrounded by potteries. Her grandfather was a plaster and ceramics worker so she remembers being surrounded by tiles and ceramics as a child. After studying traditional ornamental pottery at art college in Japan, Hitomi studied in Denmark and then at the Royal College of Art in London for her Master of Arts degree. While studying there in 2008 Hitomi spent 6 weeks at the Wedgwood factory as an intern. Here she developed new works, based on her passion for natural forms, and delved deep into Wedgwood’s archive collection of sprigs to inspire her. This period of exploration had a profound effect on Hitomi’s career and makes it entirely fitting that she should be chosen to be Wedgwood’s first artist-in-residence.
‘When I was an intern, I didn’t really know why I instinctively loved Wedgwood but now I do,’ says Hitomi. ‘I love their attention to detail and the fact they care about how things connect to the furniture and architecture around them to give their audience another layer of the story. I like how their designs have a sense of flow and movement which makes everything look three dimensional. Wedgwood isn’t just concerned with the flat surface or the moment, it cares about the up and down and what comes next too.’
The centrepiece to the collection is Hitomi’s take on Wedgwood’s iconic Portland Vase, first exhibited in 1790 in the Portland House showrooms. Wedgwood’s Portland Vase was a jasper copy of a cameo-glass vase, dating back to the reign of Emperor Augustus Caesar, which was first brought to England by Sir William Hamilton and sold to the Duchess of Portland. That vase remains in the British Museum. Hitomi’s Shōka Vase, retains the traditional shape though the distinctive Wedgwood blue has been lightened to a gentler turquoise. Hitomi’s signature look to nature has replaced the classical figures with fern moulds, which she found in the prodigious Wedgwood archive. Lush, cream ferns soften the vase’s stately elegance, creating a vibrant tension between heritage and nature, between classicism and the fecundity of the flora and fauna engulfing it.
Scattered with daisies, is a graceful yellow Haruka Bowl (pictured). Haruka means place with sunlight, warmth and flowers.
The collection has been launched at Masterpiece this week, with the Shōka Vase on the Adrian Sassoon Stand.
The full collection with then be available to view in Harrods at the end of this week.