Shingu Sayaka is a young talent in the Japanese ceramic industry. She is well-known in and outside Japan for her ceramic flower series. Unlike real flower, her pieces has no vivid color, but black clay and white glaze; it has strong and quiet impression. Looking down upon art world, there are many examples of artist who uses flower as their motif. Like Robert Mapplethorpe, Georgia O'Keeffe, and others, Shingu’s works observe the cycle of endings and fresh beginnings in flower. In Japan, 無常 (Mujyo/ mutability, uncertainty, impermanence) is one of common sense. People loves 桜(Sakura/ Cherry blossoms) because it lasts not too long. From thousands years ago, people has been making art on this concept. One of the six best waka poets of the early Heian period, Ono no Komachi (小野小町 825-900), who was renowned for her unusual beauty, made this beautiful poem about flower and her beauty.
The flowers withered
Their color faded away
I spent my days in the world
And the long rains were falling
Shingu’s flower is made by colored clay. When making a form with clay, at the beginning, the clay is fully moist and easy to change form. The texture of soft clay is one of joyful moment for the ceramic artists. But the texture changes every second. The moisture is gradually lost and the piece is dried up. Same as a cut flower, even it looks having full of life, it's dying up at every second. On the top of that, ceramics require the firing. The clay flower is burned in the kiln and gets the eternal life as a ceramic piece. Her work represents transience/fleetingness and immortality of life.
Inside her piece, there is an androecium which Shingu makes one by one by her hand. Sometimes thousands and hundreds sticks cover her work. This aggregate part represents the pile of time. This piece itself is relatively small and delicate piece, but because of this part, it has very strong presence. Her flowers never wither.