Mari was born and raised in Takaoka, Japan, and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1989. She explored many different career paths before finally finding her calling in clay. Mari holds degrees in textile design, interior design, and graphic design. Each area of design that Mari has explored has helped her to hone the discipline and skills that she now uses to create artworks in clay. Mari joined the Berkeley Potters Guild in Berkeley in 2017. She creates her ceramic work in her private studio in the guild. Much of her work is now being selected in juried national and international ceramics exhibitions across the US. Her work can be seen and is available for purchase during the Open Gallery (Saturdays, 11am-5pm) as well as the Spring and Holiday Shows at the guild.
Life is like a labyrinth. I began my journey as an artist and designer more than 30 years ago when I made kimonos in Kyoto, Japan using rōketsu-zome, a wax resist dyeing technique, on silk, for the intricate and beautiful designs. When I moved to the US, my art and design took on a new form, starting in floral design in the 90’s and progressing to interior design and graphic design during the past decade. It wasn’t until a few years ago that my creative spirit finally found its true home in ceramic art.
I have been fascinated with labyrinths since I encountered them during my study in graphic design. I began researching labyrinths and their importance in various cultures around the world. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has a single entrance and a non-branching (unicursal) path which leads to the center. It represents the journey from birth to death. The twists and turns symbolize the choices we make and the struggles we endure along the way. The labyrinth is an important theme for me and a recurring motif in my work.
During my first few years in the US, I traveled frequently through the Southwest and found an instant connection with the artistry of the Native Americans of that region. Their simple geometric designs used in pottery and handwoven baskets have a timeless quality that transcends cultures and calls to a deeper spiritualism. The influence of this art can be seen in my “Basket Series”.
I have always been drawn to the geometry of circles. Many of my newer designs incorporate circles into my work. This is something that I have been having a lot of fun with lately, experimenting with different glaze combinations. It also, as labyrinths often do, folds my creative path back onto the wax resist method I had originally used on silk and now use to create designs on clay.
California Clay Competition 2018: The 29th Annual Statewide Juried Exhibition. The Artery, Davis, CA. Juried by Tiffany Schmierer. *Creative Ceramics Juror’s Award. April 27-May 25. Opening reception Friday, April 27, 7-9 pm during the 30th annual ceramic conference, CCACA 2018.
ICAN 2018 Juried Show at NCECA: The 52nd NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) conference, Pittsburgh, PA. Juried by Forrest Gard. March 14–16th, 2018 https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/ican/juried-show/
ICAN 2018 Wall Calendar: 2018 ICAN (International Ceramic Artist Network) Wall Calendar contest—General category. The calendar is available for purchase here! https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/shop/calendars-for-2018/
Fahrenheit 2018 Biennial: International Juried Ceramic Exhibition. AMOCA (American Museum of Ceramic Art), Pomona, CA. Juried by Patti Warashima. March 10–July 22, 2018 http://www.amoca.org/fahrenheit2018/
Craft Forms 2017: The 23rd International Juried Exhibition of Contemporary Fine Craft. Davenport Gallery, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA. Juried by Nora Atkinson. December 9, 2017–January 27, 2018 http://www.craftforms.org/exhibitions/craft-forms-2017/
Clay International 2017: The 7th International Juried Ceramic Exhibition. Vulcan Gallery, Workhous Arts Center, Lorton, VA. Juried by Chris Gustin. August 12–October 8, 2017 http://www.workhousearts.org/event/clay-international-2017/
Visions in Clay 2017: The 8th National Juried Ceramic Art Exhibition. LH Horton Jr Gallery, San Joaquin Delta College, Stockton, CA. Juried by John Toki. August 24–September 15, 2017 https://www.deltacollege.edu/div/finearts/dept/dca/gallery/exhibit1/
Off Center: International Ceramic Art Competition. Crocker Family Gallery, Blue Line Arts, Roseville, CA. Juried by Sandra Simon and Robert Brady. April 14–May 27, 2017
Ceramic Innovations: International Juried Ceramics Exhibition. Davenport Gallery, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA. Juried by Chris Gustin. Co-Juror of Awards, Jim Lawton. *Award of Merit. April 1–April 29, 2017 http://www.wayneart.org/exhibitions/ceramic-innovations/
Plates and Totem: The 6th Annual Ceramic Art Show. Crocker Family Gallery, Blue Line Arts, Roseville, CA. Juried by Tony Natsoulas. October 7–November 19, 2016
RARE EARTH: National Ceramics Exhibition. Cabrillo Gallery, Cabrillo College, Aptos, CA. Juried by Kirk Delman. October 3–October 28, 2016
Visions in Clay 2016: National Ceramic Art Exhibition. LH Horton Jr Gallery, San Joaquin Delta College, Stockton, CA. Juried by Liz Quackenbush. August 25–September 16, 2016 https://www.deltacollege.edu/div/finearts/dept/dca/gallery/exhibit1/archive/2016/index.html