Following an early childhood spent in Japan, designer Reiko Kaneko went on to study at the UK’s Central St. Martins College of Arts and Design and eventually settle her design studio in Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England. While at first glance her creations may seem more Asian in influence, the bone china she chooses to make them from is decidedly English in origin.
I’ll have more on Reiko in a moment, but first a little history lesson on her material of choice – Bone china was born of a 1748 discovery by the East London porcelainists, Thomas Frye and Edward Heylyn, who noted that the addition of bone ash (yes, made of real bone) to their porcelain mixture could produce a ware of brilliant whiteness, luminescence and extraordinary durability. Frye and Heylyn’s discovery was further refined by a Stoke-on-Trent resident, Josiah Spode, who would finalize the formula that is the base for all bone china today, sometime between 1789 and 1793. From there the the product’s popularity spread like wildfire, and the rest is history.
Today, Reiko has settled her studio in the very city where bone china was first established. Here Reiko produces fine bone china collections, often combining her 3D modeling skills with the centuries-old expertise of the Stoke-on-Trent makers. With a rooting in the past and her eyes fixed firmly on the future, Reiko strives to change people’s perceptions of this 18th century material, with her beautiful, fun and decidedly contemporary lines.
Reiko has enjoyed recent collaborations with leading restaurants and cocktail bars and is available to create bespoke pieces on commission. You can view her full collection and shop her products at reikokaneko.co.uk.