I was born and raised in Japan, and decided that I would rather attend an art school in the states than in Japan. Creating something has always been my passion from a young age, and I found myself most at peace when I was working on a project. I wanted an opportunity to explore different styles and media, not only traditional representative art styles, and US schools offered more freedom in that regard. I started at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania as an 2D art major, and after discovering glass art at Corning Museum of Glass, I applied to transfer to Massachusetts College of Art as a Glass Major. While I was at both colleges I had opportunities to try Print Making, Wheel throwing and hand building Ceramics, and Metalsmithing. As much as I loved Glassblowing and casting, I found myself most comfortable with metalsmithing, especially jewelry making. 

Pictured: table talisman lighthouse, table talisman piano

I started my silver jewelry business in 2002, while I had other part time jobs working at retail and for other artists. Silver was always the easiest material to use, most versatile, and I was able to put some value into the work I was making. I wanted to create something that the customer will hold onto for a long time, not just for a season or for an occasion. Using precious metal added more value to the piece to validate the time consuming techniques I often used to create a piece. After some years, I was able to concentrate on my business by making and selling my jewelry for wholesaling to galleries/museums and retailing at craft shows. 

Pictured: Bubble necklace, Galaxy necklace 

At some point though, I started missing the freedom I had at school creating one of a kind work without any concern to how much time I spend making it. As much as I appreciated that my production lines were paying the bills, my creativity was not fully satisfied by designing something once, and making them a hundred times over. My solution then was to set aside a month of the slow season (for me it was August) and pack up my production work so I can’t even look at them, and create one piece of all I had poured into it. The result was revelating and also rewarding. I enjoyed drawing designs, making paper mock ups, redesigning, and finally making it in metal, then lots of problem solving until it’s finalized. I entered a piece a year into a design contest so that I’ll have a deadline, and that made completing the piece my priority. 

Pictured: Dodecahedron necklace, Lg. Lotus pin, Nouveau necklace

For a while my one of a kind work was wearable jewelry. The Teapot idea came to me when I found out one of the contests was offering non non-functional teapot category. I enjoyed designing something so different from what I did in the past, and ended up making teapots three years in a row. 

Pictured: Identity teapot, teapot for metal (title: Tea for Two) 

Pactola Lake Teapot is the last teapot I made in that period. A few years before that I took a road trip to the west, stopping at the beautiful Pactola Lake in South Dakota. In the same trip, I acquired a slab of labradorite in numerous spontaneous visits to parks/museum/gift shops. Whenever I looked at the slab, it reminded me of that lake, and I was trying to figure out how to put those together. Also during that period I was exploring new techniques for my jewelry lines by sewing sequins and glass beads as embellishments. When I started drawing, sleek rocks and mountains with a lake on top appeared. I didn’t own any forming tools (I usually work on a much smaller scale!) so I had to form metal using various furniture edges in my studio. I love that I was able to feature the labradorite slab the way it represented the lake to me. 

Pictured: Artist, Chihiro Makio

Since I had my child 9 years ago, I haven’t been able to set aside a month to create a one of a kind work. I have been busy making lots of new work for my galleries and craft shows though, and hope to get back into the old routine at some point again. Most of my work can be seen at 314studio.com, some galleries, and retail craft shows throughout the country. 

Small Works 2023 includes 219 works of art by 204 artists from 29 states and runs through Friday, December 22, 2023.

Recent Posts

Laura Bianco-Martinez

I am a landscape painter living in the Hudson Valley of New York working primarily in pastels and encaustics. After a career as an art educator I know focus on

Read More »

Elizabeth Caputo

Pictured: Elizabeth in her studio I had a friend a couple of Christmas’s ago take me aside to say “I really like your paintings, but your sculptures are just better”.

Read More »

Mark Lavatelli

In 1976, after studying and teaching art history, I decided to focus on the creation and study of paintings. In graduate school in New Mexico I encountered an area of

Read More »

Rachael Gootnick

I have loved books, and art, ever since I was a child, but I never could have imagined I’d end up here, living my life as a book artist. Life

Read More »

Molly Uravitch

Originally from the Washington DC area I have now settled in Sioux Falls, SD where I teach and run the ceramics facility at Augustana University. I hold a MFA in Ceramics

Read More »

Chihiro Makio

I was born and raised in Japan, and decided that I would rather attend an art school in the states than in Japan. Creating something has always been my passion

Read More »

Laura Bianco-Martinez

I am a landscape painter living in the Hudson Valley of New York working primarily in pastels and encaustics. After a career as an art educator I know focus on

Read More »

Elizabeth Caputo

Pictured: Elizabeth in her studio I had a friend a couple of Christmas’s ago take me aside to say “I really like your paintings, but your sculptures are just better”.

Read More »

Mark Lavatelli

In 1976, after studying and teaching art history, I decided to focus on the creation and study of paintings. In graduate school in New Mexico I encountered an area of

Read More »

Rachael Gootnick

I have loved books, and art, ever since I was a child, but I never could have imagined I’d end up here, living my life as a book artist. Life

Read More »

Molly Uravitch

Originally from the Washington DC area I have now settled in Sioux Falls, SD where I teach and run the ceramics facility at Augustana University. I hold a MFA in Ceramics

Read More »

Chihiro Makio

I was born and raised in Japan, and decided that I would rather attend an art school in the states than in Japan. Creating something has always been my passion

Read More »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Closed 7/28 through 8/3:

We will be closed to the public Friday, July 28 through Thursday, August 4 as we install our next exhibition, Inspired By Nature. Please join us for the opening reception on Friday, August 4 from 5 to 8pm!