Born in Yamanashi Prefecture 山梨県, Yoko Yoichi Yajima 矢嶋 ヨーコ 洋一 is a Japanese ceramist, worked as a computing engineer for 25 years, he attended Aichi Prefectural Seto Pottery Senior School upon discovering his alter-ego: Yoko. After graduation in 2005, Yajima continuously participated in a number of group and solo exhibitions in Japan and Taiwan throughout the years, including Art Kyoto 2012.
A drastic change in career many would consider, Yajima is an extremely quiet person who wilfully shies away from the limelight, “I’m not very good with words so my works will instead have to do the talking,” he explains, “I committed to pottery at my 40s because I enjoyed playing with clay since young, when I realised my other identity, the craft naturally became the right expression for my inner-self.” Yajima looks to reinterpret the Mino 美濃 heritage which dates back 1300 years, a distinctive sense of rawness radiates from his works, celebrating the innate quality of the material.
In the series Yajima created exclusively for the ‘Touch・Smell・Taste’ presentation, he applied bold and vibrant coloured yuyaku 釉薬 glaze to the pottery which is contrastively unique from the traditional Oribe-yaki 織部焼 originated from the Mino area. Now lives and works in Toki City 土岐市, Gifu Prefecture 岐阜県 in Japan, Yajima also crafts fashion accessories and other sculptural objects like high-heeled-shaped vase in his atelier.
“Looking back it wasn’t easy, I felt like something had been accumulating up to the point when I started pottery, when I was creating it was almost as if the soil was confronting me and I had to respond with everything I had left at that time.”