Meet the Maker: Reiko
Left: Reiko Kaneko portrait. Right: Selection of ceramic jugs.
Japanese ceramic designer Reiko Kaneko graduated from BA (Hons) Art and Design at Central Saint Martins in 2005. Her work marries a contemporary aesthetic with hints of Japanese culture and English wit.
Left: Image of the Reiko Kaneko's studio. Right: Image of a kiln.

What’s your fondest memory from your time at UAL?

I have so many fond memories of UAL’s old Southampton Row campus: my Japanese friend playing the piano in the entrance; the custard tarts and £1 tuna sandwiches in the canteen; and welding aluminium in the metal workshop – along with the friendly engineers who worked there. I also fondly remember endlessly photocopying books in the library (mostly in black and white)!

How did your company come about?

The focus for me had always been to create my own work, so I made sure I had some marketable products at my degree show. I met ‘Beyond the Valley’ at the show, a retail space in Carnaby Street, which showcased graduate work. To begin with I made everything myself, before I gradually built it up to getting things produced and selling them at trade shows. Eventually I was able to quit my part-time work and devote all of my time to the business.

Two images of a ceramic flower basket.

Who or what inspires you?

I’m currently inspired by the organic nature of Japanese stoneware and the unpredictable nature of glaze. I always admire the earliest pots discovered.

What was the inspiration behind your latest collection?

My latest collection, Balancing Act, is a culmination of trial and error of glazing and capturing that suspended moment.

Two images of Roko ceramic plates.

Where is your most inspiring place in London?

I find the people I meet when I’m there to be the most inspiring thing about London. There’s such a variety of characters and opinions.

What advice would you give current students hoping to start their own business?

Refine through trial and error.

Close up images of ceramic train toast holder