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Like many of her contemporaries of the third generation of Japanese female ceramic artists, Tanaka Yū’s focus is on sculpture. In particular, she creates clay objects that appear to be vessels wrapped in cloth. In this way, she hopes to provoke the viewer to imagine what might really be inside that “cloth” and ultimately to consider the question of function vs. non-function.

Although her work appears to be slab-built, Tanaka coil-builds her forms in Shigaraki-blended clay, which with its superior plasticity, gives her greater artistic freedom. For the surface treatment, Tanaka sponges the surfaces smooth then applies a thin layer of clay slip with either a brush or air-brush. To create her distinctive deep-yellow, she first applies two coatings of pigment before the initial firing and then repeats the process up to four times until the desired color is achieved

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