A profound awe of nature forms a common thread throughout my life, and dominates my artistic career. Growing up in Japan at the edge of the gently sloping Kantou plain 60 miles from Tokyo, my world was bounded by three mountains under a vast sky. I was just a speck, at home on this huge earth. Watching the clouds form overhead from where I lay in the tall grass, digging wet mud to plant rice seedlings, claiming my own branch in the cherry tree covered head to toe with fallen petals, counting the seconds between the lightning that could be seen from the beginning to where it landed and the sound rolling up the rice paddies, catching tadpoles in the creek among moss covered rocks—countless experiences cultivated an intimate relationship with my surroundings.
I arrived in San Francisco in 1978, intending to widen my horizons for a year and then return to Japan. More than thirty years later, the Bay Area is home for me and my three children. I feel very fortunate to be here, but still my inspiration often comes from Japan.
Working with my hands and exploring the possibilities of different materials has been thrilling to me all my life. As an artist, I have experimented with glass, wood, fibers, paper, tiles, etc. Seeking harmony with the character of the materials determines the process and the results. I let nature guide me—my part in determining the direction of the work is a small one. All of my recent fabric work is experimental and explorative. Spending time with the materials and letting them direct the process, I came up with an image that merges different pieces of cloth. I respect each component and do not force them together.
I enjoy contemplating the history of the individual fabric while I work, imagining those who used the fabric in various ways in the past: a mother who mended her son’s Kimono over and over; a weaver who matched the color of flower on her hair to her poncho; a father’s hands touching the initials on the handkerchief and his son who thought of him every time he did the same; a young mother’s fingers lovingly embroidering her first baby’s pillow case. They are all embedded in the fabrics sewn together. I create new memories by piecing together fragments of precious old ones.