Profile

Hisako Maruoka’s passion for ceramics began in 1978, when her husband Takeji was on assignment in Singapore.  She learned the art of ceramics from Mrs. Morris, a British ceramic artist living in Singapore at the time.  Hisako also studied Singapore's cultural art form of "batik", a wax-resist technique.

Hisako studies turned to watercolor painting, when Takeji's next assignment took the family to America.  Upon her return to Japan, she studied Japanese-style painting characterized by the use of traditional materials such as "washi" paper and the Japanese calligraphy brush.  During Takeji's assignment in China, Hisako sought to learn more about the traditional arts and she concentrated her studies in classical Chinese painting.

After returning to Japan, Hisako resumed her ceramics education under the tutelage of Mr. Teruo Sakai, an accomplished celadon porcelain artist, and Tetsu Matsuoka at the Sanyoan Studio.  She also studied oil painting from Mr. Shuji Yamato, a member of the Ryukikai group of artists.  After learning oils, Hisako complimented her new-found medium with her experience in ceramics and porcelain, to infuse her works with hand-drawn elements incorporating nature-inspired subjects.

Today, Hisako's works reflect the international influences of the various art forms that she studied over the years.

Takeji Maruoka was a career engineer with a leading Japanese global electronics company; after his retirement in 2000, he took an interest in Hisako’s ceramics works. He began formal training under master ceramist - Tetsu Matsuoka at the Sanyoan Studio.  His formal training in the foundations of ceramics included: use of the potter's wheel, glazing, and firing of ceramics; he soon discovered his “artist within”.

Takeji became fascinated with the “science” of glaze making and the technical effects of firing.  He applied his engineering knowledge to making custom glazes, which he subjects to rigorous research and development – a process that can take as long as 18 months to perfect one of his custom glazes.

To achieve the quality that he demands, he has designed and built a custom kiln to fire his specialty ash.  His custom glazes also incorporate ingredients from materials that are indigenous to their home-studio in Oiso.  His unique black and yellow glazes are infused with local soil minerals which are one-of-a-kind elements that impart natural warmth to his works.

Takeji has also undertaken formal study of the classical Japanese tea ceremony, to immerse himself in the tradition that inspires his tea-set art.  He also practices tai chi to maintain his health so that he can live a long life to create his unique balance of art and science.

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