The mini-world’s owner

Fusion of the four elements of the nature – water, fire, earth and air – ceramics is Hideko Honma's reason of existence.

Only 1.56 m tall, she is a giant. Walking by the shelves of her shop-studio in Moema, one can see renowned people such as Alex Atala, Erick Jacquin among other labels from the gastronomy of São Paulo. Everybody wants Hideko Honma. “The come by asking for white, white, white, but they end up taking everything colored", she says.

Neither Chefs nor anyone else would recognize the artisan – such a classy lady – on a typical weekend. At her family’s ranch located in Nazaré Paulista, 90 km away from the capital, she wears her pair of jeans, a long-sleeved shirt and a hat and goes into the woods searching for foliage, pebbles and whatever the nature can provide her with.

After going through high temperatures in the oven, the material she collects turns into wood ash. From the ash, she makes the enamel on which the pieces are bathed. Banana straw, eucalyptus branch and wild grass get revealed in greens, blues, browns and so many other tints. Producing her own enamel from wood ashes is Hideko's trademark, who brought the technique from Japan. The ashes also produces the painting effects: glossy, sprinkled, drained.

Drained as such the potter’s finger prints. “I can only see long lines. A spiral is missing. Who lacks spirals cannot find meanings in their lives”, said Hideko’s father once, reading the palms of the little girl’s hand, who wanted to be an artist. Some decades later, leaning over the wheel – still uncertain of what professional routes to take – Hideko watched her finger sliding down the wet clay. There it was, from her hand, a spiral. Her future belonged to ceramics.

By Mariana Mello Moraes
Casa e Jardim Magazine | 2011 January | Globo Publishing