My recent work has developed from the ideas of “Unconditional Love” and “Memory of Cells”. The work has a lot to do with my relationships to people who are important to me. It has been changing and evolving along with events in my life such as my grandfather’s complex end of his life, my grandmother’s progressing dementia, and taking a new role as a mother. What motivates me to create my work is highly personal, but I intend to send more universal messages to viewers.

Pillows = Unconditional Love

As a child, I often visited my grandparents who lived in countryside of Japan. When I was very small, my grandmother called me “a little gymnast”, because I used to roll from one end of tatami floor to another during my sleep. Grandmother put one more futon around me, then two…. and soon she ended up with filling the entire bedroom floor with all futons she had. As I became older, my grandmother continued to treat me like a princess. During my occasional visits as an adult, she would stack layers of futons for me to sleep on. Having children of my own made me recall some of the fondest memories from my childhood. In my work, futons or pillows represent the unconditional love that is passed from one generation to the next. 

Memory of Cells

The idea of “Memory of Cells” came to me when my children were newborn babies. Taking care of small children takes much time and care, yet children of very young ages do not retain memories from this critical period. While we are unable to recall the earliest experiences of our lives, cells that create our flesh, bones, skin and organs, may remember how people who loved us held, rocked, sang and cared for us. My work also touches upon the idea of carrying ancestral memories within our bodies. During my occasional visits to Japan I often feel a sensation in my body, which is hard to explain by words. I came to wonder if my physical self could recall something beyond the time period I live in; for instance the memory from the Jomon Period (14000 B.C.~300 B.C.), which is known as the oldest civilization in Japan. When I work in the studio, I think of the relay of lives that has been passed on for generations to reach my turn.  I express my gratitude for life and existence through creating my work in clay.