“I intentionally make each piece in different appearances, and make each of them thoughtfully like taking care of a child. ”
Momoko Ikarashi is a glass artist, currently based in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.
Her works have soft and rich colors and curious shapes. They speak gently to you and tickle your imagination. Let's take a glimpse into the background of her works.
WHY DID YOU START CREATING YOUR WORKS WITH GLASS?I entered the art university to make something with my hands. But I had no idea what material I would use. In my first year, I tried ceramics, metalwork, glass, and textiles in class. Finally I chose glass because it was the most undiscovered material for me. I have been working with glass ever since.
WHY DO YOU USE “KILN CASTING TECHNIQUE” TO CREATE YOUR PIECES? PLEASE TELL US THE MAGIC OF THIS TECHNIQUE.I chose *kiln casting technique because the experimental approach to production matched me. The good thing about kiln casting is that you can create slowly and thoughtfully on your own pace. The shape of the mold, the shape of the glass to be filled, the firing temperature...by changing these things little by little, I can create pieces with various unique expressions.
Glasses are placed in the kiln for at least 3 days as they cool down slowly after the heating process. You can hardly see what is going on inside the kiln, and you can't touch the molten glass. So it is fun to imagine what kind of glass it will become while waiting. Basically, you cannot control the glass, so you can encounter unexpected results. It's very interesting, like experimenting.
*Kiln casting is the process of creating a glass object in a kiln by heating glass above or inside a refractory mold.
HOW DO YOU SELECT THE COLORS YOU USE?I prefer to use pale dusky colors with slightly lower saturation. I use glass materials which are originally colored like paint as they are available on the market. However you cannot tell the color until you burn them, so I just buy the color I am interested in and burn it to find the color I like.
WHAT IS THE MOTIF OF THE GLASS FORM ON THE SMALL BOX?
Mountains, stars, wind, water... many of them come from things in nature that have no no defined form. Since they are made in abstract shapes, people may imagine different things. I prioritize the unique appearance over the functionality. So to be honest, I think it's hard to open it, but I hope you'll try your best. (laughing)
HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH THE SHAPE?When I am at my desk trying to figure out a shape, I am surprised that I cannot come up with ideas of good shapes. Ideas suddenly come down from the heavens when I am not thinking much, such as when I am taking a bath or eating a meal. I try to note them so I don't forget them.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?I am mostly inspired by landscapes. I am always looking for the beautiful things in my daily life, such as sunset, or snow falling, or the shadows falling on the road, or just the road to the workshop, because there are so many wonderful things falling on the road. I also like to collect photo books and art books, so I use them as reference for colors.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU WHEN CREATING?Make each piece with care. Some pieces cannot be made exactly the same due to the nature of technique, but I intentionally make them in different appearances. I make each of them thoughtfully like taking care of a child. Texture is also important. I try to polish them carefully to create smooth and pleasant touch.
DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITE MUSIC OR RADIO PROGRAM YOU LISTEN AT THE WORKSHOP?
I listen to Foreign music and K-pop. I find that my attention is drawn to my ears when I listen to Japanese music, so I look for foreign music so that I can let my mind drift and focus on my work.
When I am doing simple work which can be done without thinking, I listen to a Japanese radio program “All Night Nippon” on the subscription service. I recommend it because time flies by so quickly when listening to it.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO CHALLENGE IN THE FUTURE?
Beside creating objects with box shapes which I like, I would like to create new works using mirrors. Because they are made of the same material, glass. I am wondering how it would react with my work as they capture your face and scenery outside. I think it would be lovely to have a mirror in my room that looks like an object that can also be used.
Studio and profile photo credit 2022, Momoko Ikarashi
ORIFT OWNER'S COMMENTWhen I first saw her colorful glass cubes, I felt a surge of emotion, like when you are in a gelato shop trying to choose which flavor you want. After wondering for a while, I chose the first one that caught my eye. The cube with light blue and milky white in color, like ice cream melting into soda.
I hope you will find a piece that tickles your senses, with the excitement of wondering the unknown flavor and the fun moment wondering which one to choose.
Born in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. Graduated from Glassmaking Course, Department of Industrial, Interior and Craft Design, Musashino Art University. She mainly uses the Kiln casting technique, which uses an electric kiln, to create boxes and objects while exploring for new expressions of glass materials.