Kajiwara Aya

Kajiwara Aya


My father worked for a company, and my mother was a housewife. My mother passed away in 1962 and my father in 1972.  After graduating from high school, I took a job and took care of household duties. I married Kajiwara Koho in 1971 and learned to craft bamboo by helping my husband. Our work sold very well. We had a girl in 1972 and a boy in 1974. When our girl started grade school, I decided to enter Beppu Vocational School to learn more about bamboo. In 1983, encouraged by my teacher Matsuda, sixteen of us formed a women’s bamboo craft association called “Kagome no Kai” and organized exhibitions.

From sometime ago, people have not been attracted by bamboo craft work for some reason. We cannot depend upon the sales of our bamboo work now. Consequently, many of us Kagome no Kai members take part time jobs, staying away from craft work, to compensate for our reduced income. It is too bad that our association has not been active for several years because of this. I myself have a part time job of cleaning and cooking at a rest home. You cannot become rich by being a bamboo craft artist. Even if your work is admitted and wins award at an exhibition, it is hard to sell. I sometimes wonder about the future of this art. You cannot win the price competition with imports; therefore, we aim to achieve artistic excellence to attract clients. Nevertheless, it is a hard time.  People do not want to spend too much nowadays. It was so much easier to sell before. When I did solo exhibitions before, I used to sell a lot…

I often think of not submitting to exhibitions any more. We cannot sell anyway. But you know, I love crafting bamboo. I am still weaving and plaiting bamboo in the middle of the night. To become a bamboo artist, you must love bamboo. You cannot make that wonderful curved line with any other materials, and that feeling when you achieved what you imagined is unforgettable, especially when you win an award or someone compliments your work.

What do I want express through my work? I never thought of such thing. I just start weaving and plaiting and make changes. I am successful sometimes, and I am not many times. I think of doing something new, but it is hard to find a new direction.