Isohi Setsuko

July 30, 2021–August 28, 2021

OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, July 30, 5 – 7pm

Isohi is one of only a handful of Japanese women to earn recognition in the bamboo arts. Born in Otawara City, Tochigi Prefecture, Isohi studied the Sogetsu style of flower arrangement and the Sencha tea ceremony. Her desire to arrange flowers in her own baskets led her to a class in 1997 with local bamboo teacher Yagisawa Tadashi, son of well-known artist Yagisawa Keizo. Isohi advanced rapidly and her baskets won many awards at the All Japan Amateur Bamboo Art Competitions. One of her award-winning pieces was purchased by the local museum.

Not satisfied with her achievement, she consulted with Katsushiro Soho, a Living National Treasure in Bamboo Art, who lives in Tochigi Prefecture. He encouraged Isohi to submit her work to the Japan Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition, an annual competition among professional artists. In 2005, she became the third woman bamboo artist to gain full membership in the Japan Craft Arts Association.

Among the numerous awards and prizes, Isohi’s biggest achievement was winning Best of Show at the 2010 Japan Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition. There are only three bamboo artists ever to have won this prize in the 62-year history of this prestigious art competition in Japan.

The artist used to hate her given name, “Setsuko,” because of how old-fashioned it sounds. However, since it contains the Chinese character for “bamboo node”, she now likes her name. “I believe it was my destiny to become a bamboo artist.”