Reiko was born in Japan and worked as a studio potter in the area of Mashiko, a renowned folk pottery town, before she relocated to the US.
Her love for pottery started during her time at college at Tama Art University in Tokyo, where she studied contemporary art and museum curation. In her leisure time she enjoyed visiting numerous ceramic galleries, museums and pottery towns and cherished the very rich pottery culture in Japan. This experience eventually led to a desire to be a potter herself.
After receiving her B.A. she then studied ceramics at Bunka Gakuin and did a pottery apprenticeship at Tsukamoto Ceramics in Mashiko. Afterwards she established her studio in nearby Motegi and made functional pottery in both contemporary and traditional styles using gas kiln firing. In the countryside setting, she enjoyed a DIY life style such as using natural stones with material from an old farm house to make the studio and turning the raw land into her vegetable garden.
She relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1998 and founded her Studio Tabula Rasa. While in the Bay Area she was exposed to new clay techniques, materials, shapes and styles. From these experiences she developed her signature black & white sgraffito stoneware.
Reiko relocated to the Asheville Area in 2012 and since then she has enjoyed her pottery making and a large vegetable garden in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. Here she can experience the four seasons with mountains and rivers just like her home in Japan again.
Besides showing her work at her studio gallery in the Asheville River Arts district her work has been selected by numerous shows and galleries including the Smithsonian Craft Show, the American Craft Council Shows and the Charlotte Mint Museum Potters Invitational. Her black & white sgraffito and sage glazework pottery are in the Charlotte Mint Museum's permanent collection.
My studio name comes from the Latin expression "Tabula Rasa" which means an erased slate or, for me, to start with a fresh, open mind. As much as one wishes to live fully in the moment it is in actual life difficult to do. But when I am making my art I feel that is the time when I do "live in the moment". Each moment is a fresh and unique start with my state of mind a blank slate.
For me, the "now" moment created by working with my art is also a moment to connect my "past" and "future". The "past" is all of the inspirations that make it possible for me to make my art what it is. The perfect beauty that one sees in nature. Ancient and historic works that have the strength to survive through the ages. Tribal art made by a people who were living close to the earth. Beautiful music that I appreciate as a gift from God. The Japanese organic and minimalistic sense of beauty which surrounded me as I grew up. All the beings and surroundings have spiritual meaning to me and they make it possible for me to create my work.
Once I finish an object it is passed to a "future" moment. I think of the people who introduce my work into their daily life and are enjoying their "now" moment. My hope is that my work would be used to help celebrate the daily rituals of life and to make harmonious and beautiful surroundings. Handmade items are integral to every good environment and the celebration of the moments that we live in.