Mayumi Yamashita was born and grew up in the smallest coastal area (Kagawa) in south-west Japan. She graduated with first class honours in Contemporary Crafts at University College, Falmouth, in 2012.
Mayumi is a designer-maker who works with clay, mainly porcelain and stoneware. Using slip casting techniques to add tiny figures to thrown and slip casted forms and sculpture is Mayumi’s signature style of making, and allows her to create pieces which reflect her perspective on humanity.
‘Without the small figures, my work might be just an object but as soon as I put teeny tiny people onto the piece, it starts to tell a story itself. I enjoy playing with it and have been fascinated with how the tiny thing affects the whole piece.’
Mayumi’s work deals with our emotions, relationships and everyday-life and incidents with a twist and a hint of humour. Why doesn’t humanity learn from mistakes of the past? Why is it that we create things of beauty but we also destroy them? Why is humanity so “wonderful”? She plays with these questions and creates ceramic sculpture inspired by what we do, what we are and how we live.
Her work is narrative but doesn’t always tell the whole story allowing the audience to project their emotions and ideas into the work and to interpret them in their own way.
‘I’m not trying to shake people’s shoulders and tell them that we should appreciate each other more. My work is nothing like as “noble” as that. I just want to see how the audience interacts with my pieces and how they make up their own stories. That’s all I want.’