Kay Sekimachi

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Kay Sekimachi (born 1926) is an American fiber artist best known for her masterful, three-dimensional woven monofilament hangings as well as her intricate baskets and bowls.

Early life and education[edit]

Kay Sekimachi was born in San Francisco on September 30, 1926[1] to first generation Japanese Americans Takao Sekimachi and Wakuri Sekimachi.[2] Sekimachi was interned with her family at Tanforan Assembly Center and then the Topaz War Relocation Center from 1942 to 1944.[2]

From 1946 to 1949 she attended the California College of Arts and Crafts, where she initially studied painting, design, and silkscreening.[3] After she visited the weaving room and saw students working on looms, she spent her entire savings on a loom the following day though she did not know anything about weaving.[4] She started her art career weaving clothing and two-dimensional wall pieces.[5] She heard Trude Guermonprez speak at Pond Farm[6] and later studied with her during the summer of 1954. Guermonprez challenged Sekimachi, leading her to take on more complex artistic projects. Sekimachi commented in an 1959 article that "Until then I was simply using accepted techniques and relying on books and traditional patterns."[3]

She attended the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Liberty, Maine where she studied with Jack Lenor Larsen in 1956.[7] A staunch champion of her work, Larsen also commissioned Sekimachi to design a fabric for his production company.[3]


She started experimenting with nylon monofilament hangings and weaving off loom by 1963.[5] Her complex three-dimensional nylon hangings were featured several of the major exhibitions of the fiber arts movement, including Wall Hangings at the Museum of Modern Art (1969), Deliberate Entanglements at UCLA (1971) and the Biennale internationale de la tapisserie, Lausanne Switzerland in 1975 and 1983.[8]

Sekimachi was part of the New Basketry movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s.[6] Her later works comprised small woven baskets. She also created woven paperfold-like boxes with a Japanese influence.[5] She later created baskets of linen warp ends and rice paper. Most recently, Sekimachi has incorporated objects found while beachcombing into her works, also creating jewelry.[9]

She taught at the Adult Division of the San Francisco Community College as well as stints at the California College of Arts and Crafts, Lake Almanor, and the Town and Country Weavers.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Sekimachi lives in Berkeley, California. In 1972, Sekimachi married celebrated woodturner Bob Stocksdale (1972–2003).[10]

Public Collections[edit]

Sekimachi's works are in many museum collections. These include:

Selected Exhibitions[edit]

Sekimachi's work has been included in numerous exhibitions. Selected solo and small group exhibitions include:

  • Parallel Views: Kay Sekimachi and Nancy Selvin (1982), California Crafts Museum at the Palo Alto Cultural Center, Palo Alto, California
  • Marriage in Form: Kay Sekimachi & Bob Stocksdale (1993), Palo Alto Cultural Center, Palo Alto, California.[18] The show subsequently toured to many venues across the United States.
  • Kay Sekimachi: An Intimate Eye (2001), Mingei International Museum, San Diego, California
  • Loom & Lathe: The Art of Kay Sekimachi and Bob Stocksdale (2008), Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley, California.[19] The exhibition subsequently toured.
  • Puako: Jewelry by Kay Sekimachi and Kiff Slemmons (2009), Velvet da Vinci Gallery, San Francisco
  • In the Realm of Nature: Bob Stocksdale and Kay Sekimachi (2014), Mingei International Museum, San Diego[20]
  • Kay Sekimachi: Student, Teacher, Artist (2016), Textile Education Gallery, De Young Museum, San Francisco
  • Bob Stocksdale & Kay Sekimachi: From the Collection of Forrest L. Merrill (2016), Fresno Art Museum, Fresno, California
  • Kay Sekimachi Simple Complexity: Works from the Forrest L. Merrill Collection (2016-2017) at the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles[21]
  • Kay Sekimachi Master Weaver: Innovations in Forms and Materials (2018-2019) at the Fresno Art Museum, Fresno, California[22]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • American Craft Council Fellow, 1985
  • Craftsmen's Fellowship Grant, National Endowment for the Arts, 1974
  • Women’s Caucus for Art Honor Award, 1997
  • American Craft Council Gold Medal for Consummate Craftsmanship, 2002
  • Master of Medium Award, James Renwick Alliance, Washington, DC, 2007
  • Luminaries Award, Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts, 2011


  1. ^ A.C.C. Research Service Craftsman Questionnaire, American Craft Council Library: American Craft Council, November 1, 1965
  2. ^ a b "Oral history interview with Kay Sekimachi [Stocksdale], 2001 July 26-August 6, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution". Retrieved 2014-10-28.
  3. ^ a b c d Uchida, Yoshiko (May–June 1959). "Kay Sekimachi". Craft Horizons. XIX: 22.
  4. ^ "Kay Sekimachi". American Craft. 62 (5): 72. 2002.
  5. ^ a b c "ACC Honors 13". American Craft: 92. 1985.
  6. ^ a b Burton, J. Penny. "Progressional Journeys: Compelling New Directions for Three "New Basketry" Artists". Textile Society of America Symposium Proceedings (Paper 11).
  7. ^ "Kay Sekimachi – An Intimate Eye". Mingei International Museum. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  8. ^ Fiber : sculpture 1960-present. Porter, Jenelle,, Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, Mass.),, Wexner Center for the Arts,, Des Moines Art Center,. Munich. pp. 224–225. ISBN 9783791353821. OCLC 878667652.CS1 maint: others (link)
  9. ^ Bishop, Deborah (October 6, 2010). "Weaving the Sea". American Craft.
  10. ^ Tigerman, edited by Bobbye Tigerman ; with contributions by Jennifer Munro Miller, Lacy Simkowitz, Staci Steinberger, Bobbye. A handbook of California design, 1930-1965 : craftspeople, designers, manufacturers. Los Angeles, CA. ISBN 9780262518383. OCLC 806456282.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  11. ^ "Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Met Collection". www.metmuseum.org. Retrieved 2019-03-17.
  12. ^ "Search Results". FAMSF Search the Collections. Retrieved 2019-03-17.
  13. ^ "Kay Sekimachi". Smithsonian American Art Museum. Retrieved 2019-03-17.
  14. ^ "Kay Sekimachi". Crafting a Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft. UNC Press Books. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4696-1281-2.
  15. ^ "2017 DA² Acquisitions | Unframed". unframed.lacma.org. Retrieved 2019-03-17.
  16. ^ "Kay Sekimachi | OMCA COLLECTIONS". collections.museumca.org. Retrieved 2019-03-17.
  17. ^ "Search the Collection | The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston". www.mfah.org. Retrieved 2019-03-17.
  18. ^ Sekimachi., Stocksdale, Kay (1993). Marriage in form : Kay Sekimachi & Bob Stocksdale. Stocksdale, Bob, 1913-2003., Mayfield, Signe., Palo Alto Cultural Center. Palo Alto, CA: Palo Alto Cultural Center. ISBN 0963692216. OCLC 28988391.
  19. ^ Kay,, Sekimachi,. Loom & lathe : the art of Kay Sekimachi and Bob Stocksdale. Baizerman, Suzanne,, LeCoff, Albert B., 1950-, Stocksdale, Bob, 1913-2003,, Berkeley Art Center,, Sam & Alfreda Maloof Foundation Gallery,, Fuller Craft Museum,. Berkeley. ISBN 9780942744149. OCLC 229195976.
  20. ^ Signe,, Mayfield,. In the realm of nature : Bob Stocksdale & Kay Sekimachi. Sidner, Rob,, Leventon, Melissa,, Lavine, John C.,, Stocksdale, Bob, 1913-2003,, Sekimachi, Kay,, Mingei International Museum,. San Diego, CA. ISBN 9780914155317. OCLC 891204980.
  21. ^ Jerger, Holly (2016). Kay Sekimachi Simple Complexity: Works from the Forrest L. Merrill Collection. Craft and Folk Art Museum.
  22. ^ Kay Sekimachi, master weaver : innovations in forms and materials : Fresno Art Museum's Council of 100 Distinguished Woman Artist for 2018. Pracy, Michele Ellis,, Hornback, Kristina,, Riedel, Mija, 1958-, Mayfield, Signe,, Fresno Art Museum. Fresno, CA. ISBN 9780932325599 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help). OCLC 1052897905.CS1 maint: others (link)

External links[edit]