Yamaguchi Ryuun

Yamaguchi Ryuun


Bamboo is beautiful.

I listen to it. The bamboo says many things tome.

I enjoy my conversations with it.

I express beauty through bamboo: the beauty of water flowing,

the beauty of flowers, the beauty of moving clouds.

I try to bring the beauty of nature into my sculpture.

At the age of sixteen, my father encouraged me to learn bamboo basketry. After learning the basics at the Beppu Occupational School, my first opportunity knocked in 1963 when I became a live-in-assistant to local basket maker, Shono Shounsai. I worked at his Shikutei Studio for a year making Shounsai-designed bamboo trays. I spent as much time as possible after hours at my master’s studio watching and learning how he created his exhibition pieces. This became the foundation of my art making. After leaving his studio, I started to create my own art work, submitting one or two pieces a year to juried public exhibitions, while earning a living making simple flower baskets ordered by bamboo wholesalers.

The second opportunity knocked when Mr. Robert Coffland visited me. He introduced my work to the West. To my great surprise, the Western audience accepted my artwork, and I became a full-time artist. Mr. Coffland kindly offered me a solo show in Santa Fe, NM. I have participated in a number of group shows in Japan, but this was my very first solo show. I am very grateful. It is the third opportunity knocking at my door for the next chapter in my bamboo art.