Masami Yamamoto is a Japanese artist based in Kanazawa largely working in the medium of ceramics. Since around 2011 the artist has been developing a series based on used—often intimate—clothing as a means of creating portraits of the owner of that item. The folds, wrinkles and details are all manually carved by the artist, rendering the ceramic objects in realism that is seemingly lightweight but also possessing strength and density.

Most of us spend our entire lives fully clothed and, in effect, these items are not only physically intimate with us but often reflect our deeper selves.

Rather than using molds or immersing fibers in wet clay, a technique employed by others, Yamamoto chooses to manually hand-carve her sculptures from soft clay, all the while studying and observing the garment. It’s this way, and only this way, that the artist is able to achieve a portrait of the owner, whose garment has faded and decayed over numerous uses and washes.

If you’re in Kanazawa, Masami Yamamoto currently has an exhibition at the gallery Hiina Action (through September 5, 2021). You can also keep up with the artist on Instagram.