Noe Kuremoto is a ceramic artist based in London and the lake district of Lithuania whose work draws on contemporary womanhood and the archaeological histories of Japan. Her latest series, "Dogu Ladies," is inspired by the esoteric clay female figurines made in the Japanese archipelago during the Jomon period (c. 14,000–300 BC). With big eyes, accentuated large breasts, and wide hips, they are widely held to be symbols of fertility and a promise of safe delivery during childbirth. Noe’s “Dogu Ladies” serve as contemporary talismans and are a salute to the strength of the career mother's resilience and determination. They serve as a reminder that the modern experiences of women carry historical precedents.
In my recent studio conversation with Noe about her work, we spoke at length about how her reflective and contemporary experiences of motherhood have made their way into her art.
What struck me the most about Noe was her incredible work ethic and the intuitive manner in which she named her experiences. She spoke lyrically, with elegant articulations, about how the threads of her experiences have woven together to create a tapestry of modern womanhood. With her background originally in new media and performance art at Central Saint Martin’s, Noe’s studio clay practice is relatively new, having begun about eight years ago. Her sculpturally informed functional vessels capture the tenderness of contemporary motherhood, which is not without its adversity.
Kristie Lui (KL): What was your first encounter with clay, and why did you choose to work with clay?
Noe Kuremoto (NK): My father was a fine artist (painter and sculptor). He used to take me to a university workshop when I was young. I must have been around eight years old. There, an assistant of his was enrolled in a ceramics course, and one day the assistant began taking me to the studio. I had such fun! Back then, I thought of clay as a way for me to draw in the air.
At that age, I wasn’t thinking strategically about how to redefine clay or the clay medium in a more cognitive way. I was just having fun, as a child would....