After a year and a half of creating, traveling and connecting, I am wrapping up my precious time here as a resident artisan at North House Folk School. My culminating residency show, “Chasing the Curve,” opened this past Friday, November 30th. It was a great moment to reflect on my experience and to look back at where it all started.
Since North House is remote, I wanted to do my best to connect folks with images and text of the show so you can get a sense of what I’ve been up to and the impact of the program.
Below, and in the next few blog posts, I’ll be sharing information from the show as well as my axe carving dance performance.
If you’re interested in purchasing any of the pieces, they are available at my website.
Thanks for reading and for your support!
Below are the photos & text that are in the show:
Chasing the Curve
Welcome to the first Artisan Development Program culminating residency show! As a resident artisan, I spent the past year and a half studying one-on-one with craftspeople, participating in courses at North House Folk School, experimenting with new projects, teaching carving and woodturning to others and traveling to Scandinavia for two months to observe and take in even more woodworking styles and traditions.
I am inspired by the curved forms of Scandinavian and Japanese wooden crafts, in particular the boat and bowl. After studying how to carve bowls with the Swedish master woodworker Beth Moen, I realized I was hooked on chasing the curves of these boat-like bowls.
I love the curved profiles of vessels, the unpredictable warping of wood and the innate elegance of branches.
On these walls and hanging from the ceiling, are pieces that embody my time spent here as a student, teacher and traveler.
I was born in rural fishing village in northeastern Japan. My middle name comes from the local 雷電 (raiden) shrine, which is dedicated to the god of thunder and lightning.
Ever since I was young, my grandma Kate and I would make sculptures and projects together. I have an early memory of using a jigsaw to make a wooden crib for my dolls and by the time I was eight she put an oxyacetylene torch in my hand. I credit her for lighting the creative spark within me.
When I first started woodworking as an adult, my intent was to learn enough so that I could empower young people with these skills. Little did I know that this journey would also include opportunities for me to develop my own artistic voice and to connect with an inspiring and ever-growing community of artists, art-lovers, craftspeople and dear friends.
Thank you to the staff, volunteers and instructors at North House for creating and sustaining this unique community and for making programs like this residency possible.
Beth Ireland was my main mentor throughout my residency. We regularly checked in over the phone and I studied with her at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine for one month. She also came to Grand Marais this fall and taught courses and helped me map out my final show.
Although she worked as an architectural wood turner for the majority of her career, she also has an MFA in sculpture and is a passionate educator. She not only shared endless woodworking techniques, she also encouraged me to develop my artistic voice and to take risks creatively and professionally.
In addition to working with Beth, I was able to study one-on-one with other master craftspeople for shorter periods of time. The knowledge, time and friendship they shared enriched my life and creative practice.