What’s the meaning of your business name?
It is my first and middle name followed by the type of claybody I use - stoneware. I initially chose to go with my name as it pulls from my heritage on both sides. As my mother is from Kyoto, Japan, Tamiko is Japanese (meaning great beautiful one) and Claire was given to me after my father’s mother whose roots stretch to Europe.
Tell us about yourself!
I first started on the wheel here on Oahu in high school when I was 14 and continued throughout. When I moved to Tokyo in 2008 for model work I found a small studio to learn out of and keep creating. I did similarly in my time in New York which is where my eyes opened to modern and nordic ceramic design. I started selling pieces here and there to friends and when I moved back home to Hawai’i, launched my business.
What are your favorite materials right now?
I will always love light speckled stoneware but lately have been enjoying playing with richer clays like earthy deep browns and bright satin glazes.
When did you decide to become a designer/artist?
I don’t know if I ever decided consciously...it definitely has been and is a journey of discovery! As my career was in modeling since age 17, ceramics was always my counterbalancing hobby and if anything, I would do collage art, lettering and graphic design for side work. The creative environment in NY really helped me see and believe I could create a small business for my stoneware if I really wanted to. How it has developed has been scary, beautiful and humbling. I’m just grateful to everyone who has put their trust in me to bring color and visuals to their world along the way.
Were you encouraged to follow your dreams and create for a living?
Yes, very blessed to say yes by the people around me. Of course we all meet resistance in some form or another but those also serve as extra fuel :)
Is there a single purpose that keeps you focused?
probably life, simply.
What about your medium makes you keep going back? What makes you stick with it?
For me it is the process. There is definitely some kind of magic working with clay - it is earth! The fact that functional pottery began 10,000 years ago for the first established communities to eat from is such a comforting thought in reaffirming the purpose of my clay connection. There is a nostalgic, fundamental depth of feeling that exists in shaping clay into functional pieces. I think that is why no matter where I was living or what I was doing for work, I sought out a place where I could tap into that and keep in touch with the craft.
Is there something that the world should know about you and/or the work that you do?
I would love people to know that every piece is 100% handmade and genuinely infused with a lot of intention and love in there.
What’s your biggest challenge as a maker?
I think one of the biggest challenges as being a maker (as a business) is balancing the business/work aspect with the passion element. I definitely will keep taking on commissions and larger orders yet all the while, want to keep growing -- there’s so much to learn and share! Evolving creatively and everlearning are really important to me.
What’s on your current music rotation while creating?
I’ve been really liking creating to this one radio playlist based on “All the Sun that Shines” by Peaking Lights.
See the whole collection here.
Images by tamikoclaire x mark kushimi