Touch and Connecting hearts - Ryoko Horie

That one caught my eye at first sight. I wonder if we've played together somewhere before?

It has a warmth that makes you feel as if it has existed since ancient times. And a slightly mysterious presence. It's so cute that you want to be with it forever. We asked Ms. Horie, who creates these unique ponpoco dolls in Yamagata, about the story behind their creation.

"When I was a student, I made a small mushroom out of clay for a friend, and it gradually changed shape and began to make its home in a corner of someone's life," she told us.

I can't believe it! Ponpoco started out as a mushroom! Just imagining the process of a baby mushroom gradually changing into a ponpoco makes me happy. The name ponpoco is also borrowed from the raccoon dog Pompoko, who can transform into many different things.

"I'm really drawn to pebbles that have rounded edges. I want to create something that allows me to sense the flow of time, and to incorporate that feeling into my work."

Ms. Horie says she wants to create vessels that are not just for use, but that can be touched and communicated with in a broader sense. He says he would be very happy to create something that can be enjoyed as both an art piece and for everyday use, something that people can cherish and feel as if they are living with it.

From the expression in their eyes and the way their fingers move to the feeling of their hands, everything is so lovely.

Using her index finger and thumb, she makes small parts the size of grains of rice, then glues them together, concentrating on her fingertips. It's also a fun time, as ponpoco's personality clearly emerges. She especially likes the lower jaw, and is most focused on the work when making the face. Even for parts other than the face, she takes her time to carefully carve them out after twisting them by hand, in order to give them a shape and texture that feels soft and natural when touched.

The glaze is layered to create a complex look and feel. The clay is made of white clay from Shigaraki and porcelain clay from Seto, and is semi-porcelain. The warmth of the clay and the smoothness of the porcelain clay are very comfortable.

Clay was the material I felt was closest to me and suited my expression well.

"Pottery is perfect for me because the process is clearly divided into molding, drying, glazing, and firing, and there are periods during the drying and firing process when you can't actually touch the piece."

That's what he told me about the charm of pottery. When we met, Horie carefully explained the questions we asked him. I could feel his love for ponpoco, and it warmed my heart. Ponpoco are made with a lot of effort and love. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of ponpoco will be created in the future.


Ryoko Horie's list here

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