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Ijssel Orbit

IJsselbiënnale, Deventer NL

Japanese artist Haruka Matsuo dived into the bottom of the IJssel and found the most beautiful clay. The starting point of IJssel Orbit, her project along the IJssel.
 As the only specialist in the Kigata Banko technique, she then managed to turn the clay into a unique tea service. 

This ceramic artwork for daily use - passed down from generation to generation in Japanese families - consists of a teapot, five cups, a sample of the fired IJssel clay and tea sown near the IJssel. All safely stored in a wooden box, of traditional Japanese design, sealed with a unique seal and Haruka Matsuo's signature. 

'No one has ever made a tea service from IJssel clay'


The IJsselbiennale is an art biennial about the relationship between human and landscape. When artist Elmo Vermijs asks Haruka Matsuo to lead tea ceremonies -focusing on the here and now, connection and nature- for his land art project 'The way of Soil', Haruka's own project IJssel Orbit also starts. 

'In Japan, we are used to using the soil from the rice fields as clay for tea ceremony set. Even the tea always comes from the adjacent area.' 

She wonders if it is possible to make a Japanese tea service from the clay of the IJssel. It is farmer Klunder from Deventer, with his recently received organic classification for the quality of his soil, who pointed out to Haruka exactly where the best clay can be found.

Meanwhile, she teaches schoolchildren about sowing plants in the soil of the river IJssel. The plants and resulting tea are part of Vermijs' work and Haruka uses them during tea ceremonies. 

Using the specialised Kigata Banko technique, which Haruka is the only artist in the Netherlands to have mastered flawlessly, a work of art is created from the IJssel clay: Biennale Set and Biennale Orbit Cup. 

Text : Fidessa Docters van Leeuwen

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