〈interview〉The Crafting Scene - Mayumi Kogoma

〈interview〉The Crafting Scene - Mayumi Kogoma


Ms. Kogoma has been active as "UU ceramic and objects" since 2009. We wanted to know what she thinks about daily and how she works with her hands. Understanding her creative process can broaden our perspective on the world seen through her works.



"I've loved making things since I was little. I majored in ceramics at university, and at that time, I primarily created large pieces, like sculptures."


UU ceramic and objects' jewelry combines porcelain clay and glass glaze. The pieces feature artificial carved patterns and the random bulges of glass, evoking minerals slowly formed in nature. Interestingly, these creations originated from what Ms. Kogoma describes as "products of failure."


"When you apply too much glassy glaze, it tends to run off, which is typically considered a failure. However, the accumulated glass-like glaze was so beautiful. That was the beginning of my journey, as I experimented with how to incorporate that into my works," says Ms. Kogoma.



The authenticity gained through simplification


Blues, greens, and whites. The world Ms. Kogoma creates is imbued with a consistent atmosphere in both color and form. However, she reflects that before arriving at her current style, there wasn't a signature look that defined "UU."


"The turning point was seven years ago. When I became pregnant, I had to reassess my style, which became a turning point. As my physical mobility became limited, I was forced to simplify what I could do. I pared down the colors and shapes of my works. In my case, narrowing my style actually broadened my world."



In narrowing down her style, she says she thoroughly considered what she liked and what felt true to herself.

Lining the shelves of her atelier are books on minerals and stones, along with stones she has collected herself.


"These are stones I picked up from the coast of Itoigawa in Niigata Prefecture. I love their rounded shapes. The ones on that shelf were also collected from various local beaches and riverbanks. Even when I travel, I research what kind of stones can be found in that area and visit those spots. I never know what kind of stones I'll encounter, and that's part of what I love about collecting them."



Each collected stone was labeled with its place of origin and the date it was found. Ms. Kogoma's love and curiosity for minerals and stones are key elements that shape her unique style.


"The consistent concept is 'crystals created by hand.' I infuse my work with the sense of creating gemstones that I can produce myself. If jewelry represents minerals, then my relief works represent the raw stones from which those minerals are formed."



Ms. Kogoma also creates wall-mounted relief tiles.


"Since I don't have to consider the functional aspect of wearing it as jewelry, I can freely express what I want to create. In fact, all the motifs for my relief works are inspired by 'artificial objects.' For instance, the dense clusters of structures seen in aerial photographs or the sprawling cityscapes of buildings. These scenes gave me the impression of a kind of 'crystallization' or natural phenomenon."


Ms. Kogoma's perspective finds serendipity not only in the natural world but also in human-made environments. Understanding the background of her works broadens the images and worlds they convey. The origins of the colors and patterns trapped within the glass invite the imagination. Gazing at them while contemplating these origins can easily make time slip away.



"I often hear people say, 'I can look at it forever.' It's a moment when time stands still. I hope my work can offer such moments of pause in daily life. I believe that over time, different aspects of the piece will catch the viewer's eye, places will become noticeable, and new details will stand out. I'd be delighted if people could enjoy my work in this way every day."




The Act of Continuing to Create


"When I narrowed down my style, I worried that there might come a moment when I would get bored of creating. However, even after seven years, that moment has never come."


It's been seven years since she arrived at her current style, and she has been creating for 15 years. She says that her designs are always evolving as she continues to create.


"When it comes to jewelry, most of the shapes and patterns are created as I work with my hands. It’s more of a live process rather than something pre-determined. On the other hand, when I make reliefs, I often decide on the design before starting. With ceramics, you can’t predict exactly how the piece will turn out until it’s fired. That’s what makes it both fascinating and challenging."



"My favorite moment in the creative process is probably when I finish carving and line up the pieces. The stage before putting them in the kiln is the last part I can control with my own hands. I consider everything up until the moment I entrust the pieces to the kiln to be my work. I especially love looking at the pieces before the clay dries because they bear the marks of my hands."



Mayumi Kogoma

Born in Tokyo
Founder of the ceramic jewelry brand UU ceramic jewelry and objects, established in 2009. She began creating relief works in 2015.

2015: Solo Exhibition "Shou Shou" at Morioka Shoten
2021: Two-Person Exhibition "Utakata" at evam eva yamanashi, among others



1/2 - 〈interview〉Scenes with Goat Mesh

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