Video by Connor Guest
Music by Matthew Im
At first glance, pieces made by Risa Nishimori look like they’re adorned with vibrant brush strokes of various hues and shapes that swirl, arch, and grow. Risa uses a technique called nerikomi. Neri is a root word meaning “to mix”, and komi means “to press into”. Far from a surface treatment, stained blocks of clay are shaped and stacked to create a block, which is then sliced in a cross section to form the body of her pieces. The patterns arise from layered colors that are inherent to the composition of each piece.
Risa doesn’t stick to traditional patterns of nerikomi, and instead has invented her own. The resulting work she has produced consists of myriad unique designs that have risen from her imagination and curiosity for pushing the boundaries of clay.
Along with filmmaker Connor Guest, we stopped by the studio that Risa runs in Manhattan, Togei Kyoshitsu to film her process. Risa showed us how to stain white porcelain to vibrant shades which she then stacked and sliced to form her signature vessel: a cup, carefully formed to the proportions of the human hand.
Risa’s studio, Togei Kyoshitsu, is home to many ceramics makers based in New York. Over the years, through her gracious spirit, she has built a community where people of varied backgrounds convene together and share in the joy of working with clay.
Classes with Risa are open now for registration at Togei Kyoshitsu! View availability here: https://www.nytogei.com/
More info about Risa Nishimori:
Connor Guest is a filmmaker and data scientist who creates visual stories with a focus on environmental and climate issues. Connor recently returned to the states after working in emerging markets in Africa and Asia, collaborating with startups as a storytelling fellow and data analyst. He is currently working with WattTime, a nonprofit that offers technology solutions that give people the agency to choose clean energy.