Reiko Kaneko designs for SCP; terracotta plant pots, Orlando armchair and ottoman, terracotta tableware, Adderley pendant light.
What current trends are you seeing in ceramics?
Politics and political messages. East Fork pottery’s message on Instagram, is that pottery is political (#potteryispolitical). That idea is exciting, as ceramics has a long history of being political and principled. For example, our very own Josiah Wedgwood made beautifully crafted porcelain cameo’s that depicting a slave, with the slogan, “Am I Not a Man and a Brother?”. He gave them away to people supporting the abolition cause. The political potential of pots is huge if you’re passionate about something enough.
What have you learnt?
That the more I learn, the wider the gaps in my knowledge seem.
How do you reconcile design with consumerism?
Good question. It’s such a difficult one. I find it hard walking around trade shows and seeing the sheer amount of product in one space. I believe that as a business, you have more responsibility because of the sheer volume of things that you produce. I’ve always felt that pressure since witnessing my first trade show and I am currently working on that problem. But I think we all have to battle with this, individually as well as a collectively, as it’s so out of control.
What is the one thing that every home needs?
A place to cook and eat together.
How have your design principles influenced your home?
At the moment, I’m building a tiny bathroom and utility room into our house and doing little bits to the kitchen. We recently moved here and I’m battling with myself not add to landfill unnecessarily. But it’s weirdly hard to not rip it all out and replace it all with new materials.
What kind of environment do you like working in?
I need sunlight and fresh air. A workshop with central heating would be nice.
What is important?
I’ve just been on maternity leave and have come back to work with renewed vigour and a fire in my belly. Having time away has really enabled that drive and excitement for my practice to come back, which is important to me. I’ve not felt like this in a long while to be honest. Aside from work, experiences are all shaped by people, so my belief is that those around you are important.
If you were asked to give the world a single piece of advice, what would it be?
I’m still searching for that one piece of advice the world could give me.
Tile murals and action painting.
What will we see in SCP’s House of Ceramics?
I’ve been experimenting with clay and glazes since 2012 when I finally got my own kiln. This exhibition shows some of my trials to understanding the different materials in clay that all have very different personalities.
Thank you to Reiko for taking the time to share these insights. SCP’s House of Ceramics exhibition will run 9-13 May at SCP East, alongside live throwing demonstrations. Learn more here.
Read the full designer biography here.
View the Reiko Kaneko Collection.