Esther Shimazu

CatDemon3_replacement copy

Cat Demon Makes Her Getaway  2014
Stoneware and porcelain, 22″ x 14″ x 13″

“I was born and raised in Hawaii.  For much of my childhood, the Japanese were the single largest ethnic group thanks to the many Asian sugar plantation laborers, my grandparents among them, brought in during the early 1900’s.  My U.S.-born father was a proud WWII 442nd Regimental Combat Team veteran and became an engineer with the GI Bill, which worked out well in the post-statehood building boom.  Rural Japanese culture was fairly pervasive and positive, albeit mushed together with Hawaiian and all the other immigrant cultures.  I grew up crowded but happy in a large, noisy family.  Art and creativity were allowed to flourish and clay very early became my medium of choice. Japan’s venerable functional clay and mostly religious sculpture traditions loomed large in my education. I was drawn but felt perhaps too removed. Then I found netsuke, the often intricately carved toggles that secure small cord-bound containers to one’s sash. Often mini-sculptures, imagery is taken from nature, folklore and daily observation and the best ones are exquisitely detailed. They are thoroughly Japanese but personal and even funny and seem the best standard I could find in spirit and execution.”


– Esther Shimazu

Shimazu, bio