Oral history interview with Kay Sekimachi [Stocksdale], 2001 July 26-August 6
Stocksdale, Kay Sekimachi, 1926-
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Transcript: 59 pages.
Originally recorded on 4 sound cassettes. Reformated in 2010 as 7 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr., 21 min.
An interview of Kay Sekimachi [Stocksdale] conducted 2001 July 26-August 6, by Suzanne Baizerman, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Sekimachi's home in Berkeley, California.
Sekimachi speaks of her family and early childhood in Berkeley; a trip to Japan when she was four, during which her older brother died of dysentery; what it was like growing up in a Japanese community in Berkeley; the death of her father when she was ten years old; learning Japanese culture through her mother's cooking and traditions; the relocation of her family during WWII; learning to paint and draw at the relocation center in Tanforan; moving to Utah, then Cincinnati before finally returning to Berkeley; her trip to Japan in 1974 and how it felt like she really belonged there, and falling in love with the Japanese aesthetic; trips to London, and consequently meeting Ann Sutton and Peter Collingwood; studying and working with Trude Guermonprez; teaching for Mary Woodard Davis in Santa Fe, N.M.; her first trip to Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine.; how the community groups and guilds provided support and many friendships, including Claire Weaver; some of the magazines she subscribes to, and the numerous books that influenced her during her career, by Anni Albers, Mary Atwater, and others; how her work started out as functional and gradually became non-functional; the many different types of her artwork, monofilament, paper bowls, and hornets nests; the limitations of the loom, and learning to experiment with fiber; difficulty of selling her craft; the numerous places she has exhibited and sold her work, including but not limited to Local Color, Nanny's (both in San Francisco), the Mint Museum in Charlotte, N.C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, and Brown Grotta Gallery in Wilton, Connecticut; how she doesn't like to deal with agents, and dealers; her marriage to Bob Stocksdale; her studio and the studio of her husband; all of the artwork in her dining room and living room area; and how she is still weaving, but is not as frequent in her studio because she has been taking care of Bob. Sekimachi also recalls Kenneth Trapp, Marguerite Wildenhain, Lee Nordness, Loiuse Allrich, Jack Lenor Larsen, Dominic DiMare, and others.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Kay Sekimachi [Stocksdale], 2001 July 26-August 6. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for this interview was provided by the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Kay Sekimachi (1926- ) is a fiber artist from Berkeley, California. Suzanne Baizerman is a curator at the Oakland Museum in Oakland, California. Sekimachi is also known as Kay Sekimachi Stocksdale. She is married to wood-turner Bob Stocksdale.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001