Japanese artist Hitomi Hosono (previously) translates the billowing leaves of an underwater plant or the clusters of Hawthorn tree flowers into intricate sculptural assemblages devoid of their natural colors. The monochromatic bowls and vases appear to sprout incredibly detailed botanicals that Hosono layers in tight wraps and dense bunches, and while stylized in presentation, each form is derived from hours of research and observation of real specimens.
Currently living in London, Hosono draws on memories of her home in Gifa Prefecture to inform much of her work, and she allows the medium itself to dictate her practice. While some of the botanical forms are inspired by specific encounters with the environment like walks through the city’s parks, others are spontaneous and spurred by a hunk of material already evocative of a leaf or petal. “When handling the porcelain clay itself, then my old memories of nature in Japan come flooding back through my hands—abstract and uncertain when it was in my mind. Kneading, brushing, patting, carving, there are many processes before the shape emerges from the porcelain clay and begins to take the form of my tactile memory,” she explains.
In a note to Colossal, Hosono says she’s been interested lately in combining small florals with larger foliage, a contrast evident in “A Tall Peony and Leaves Vase” and “A Tall Tsutsuji Tower.” She describes the process for the latter:
This flower is so much a part of my childhood memories; we had Tutsuji in our home garden, at school, along the street, nearby parks, almost everywhere in Japan. Making the delicate tip of the Tsutsuji petal is challenging. I use a very small fine brush to curl the end of each petal. This must be done slowly and gently as the ends become incredibly fragile. Then I assemble the petals by hand to make each flower and place these one-by-one.
No matter the size, every element is hand-sculpted and arranged with similar pieces into a floret or layered onto the larger vessel, which typically takes a year or more to complete.