Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji


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    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Light and Shadow

    Urushi box sculpture with drawers. Mahogany, clear urushi, pigments, black urushi, cotton linen, kawari nuri polishing technique

    17.5" h x 11" w x 9.5" d

    Photo: Dean Powell

    Inquire

  • ZeltsermanMiyajiY_LightAndShadow_ClosedA_DP_w.jpg
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Light and Shadow

    Urushi box sculpture with drawers. Mahogany, clear urushi, pigments, black urushi, cotton linen, kawari nuri polishing technique

    17.5" h x 11" w x 9.5" d

    Photo: Dean Powell

    Inquire

  • ZeltsermanMiyajiY_LightAndShadow_Open_DP_w.jpg
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Light and Shadow

    Urushi box sculpture with drawers. Mahogany, clear urushi, pigments, black urushi, cotton linen, kawari nuri polishing technique

    17.5" h x 11" w x 9.5" d

    Photo: Dean Powell

    Inquire

  • 19.ZeltsermanMiyajiY_NocturneFourSeason_FrontClosed
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Nocturne: Four Seasons

    2014. Mahogany, oak, roiro (black) urushi, colored urushi, pigment, cotton linen, egg shell, mother of pearl, hand-fabricated, coated and turned brass knobs, kawari nuri polishing technique

    20.5" x 20.5" x 10.75"

    Photo: Dean Powell

    Inquire

  • 18.ZeltsermanMiyajiY_NocturneFourSeason_TwoOpen
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Nocturne: Four Seasons

    2014. Mahogany, oak, roiro (black) urushi, colored urushi, pigment, cotton linen, egg shell, mother of pearl, hand-fabricated, coated and turned brass knobs, kawari nuri polishing technique

    20.5" x 20.5" x 10.75"

    Photo: Dean Powell

    Inquire

  • 17.ZeltsermanMiyajiY_NocturneFourSeason_Open
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Nocturne: Four Seasons

    2014. Mahogany, oak, roiro (black) urushi, colored urushi, pigment, cotton linen, egg shell, mother of pearl, hand-fabricated, coated and turned brass knobs, kawari nuri polishing technique

    20.5" x 20.5" x 10.75"

    Photo: Dean Powell

    Inquire

  • 16.ZeltsermanMiyajiY_NocturneFourSeason_DrawersOpen
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Nocturne: Four Seasons

    2014. Mahogany, oak, roiro (black) urushi, colored urushi, pigment, cotton linen, egg shell, mother of pearl, hand-fabricated, coated and turned brass knobs, kawari nuri polishing technique

    20.5" x 20.5" x 10.75"

    Photo: Dean Powell

    Inquire

  • 15.ZeltsermanMiyajiY_NocturneFourSeason_BackClosed
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Nocturne: Four Seasons

    2014. Mahogany, oak, roiro (black) urushi, colored urushi, pigment, cotton linen, egg shell, mother of pearl, hand-fabricated, coated and turned brass knobs, kawari nuri polishing technique

    20.5" x 20.5" x 10.75"

    Photo: Dean Powell

    Inquire

  • 14.Miyaji_CubeJewelryBox_open
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Cube

    2013. Mahogany, linen, roiro urushi, clear urushi, pigment, charcoal

    13.5" x 11" x 13.75"

    Photo: Dean Powell

    Inquire

  • 13.Miyaji_CubeJewelryBox_sm
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Cube

    2013. Mahogany, linen, roiro urushi, clear urushi, pigment, charcoal

    13.5" x 11" x 13.75"

    Photo: Dean Powell

    Inquire

  • 12.ZeltsermanMiyajiY_WillowDeco_DeanPowell1
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Willow Deco, with doors open

    2012. Mahogany, urushi, black pigment, colored pigment, MDF, Kawari Nuri polishing technique

    65.4" x 43.7" x 8.9"

    Photo: Dean Powell

    Inquire

  • 11.ZeltsermanMiyajiY_WillowDeco_DeanPowell
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Willow Deco

    2012. Mahogany, urushi, black pigment, colored pigment, MDF, Kawari Nuri polishing technique

    65.4" x 43.7" x 8.9"

    Photo: Dean Powell

    Inquire

  • 10.ZeltsermanMiyajiY_TableShelves_DeanPowell
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Table Shelves

    2012. Mahogany, urushi, black pigment, colored pigment, Kawari Nuri polishing technique

    34.8" x 34" x 9"

    Photo: Dean Powell

    Inquire

  • 09.ZeltsermanMiyajiY_ScreenShelves_DeanPowell
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Screen Shelves

    2012. White oak, urushi, black pigment, roiro urushi

    48.8" x 53.1" x 16.4"

    Photo: Dean Powell

    Inquire

  • 08.ZeltsermanMiyajiY_RoiroWallShelves_DeanPowell
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Roiro Wall Shelves

    2012. Mahogany, urushi, pigment, roiro, MDF, Kawari Nuri polishing technique

    21" x 34" x 8"

    Inquire

  • 07.ZeltsermanMiyajiY_TsugaruDeco_DeanPowell
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Tsugaru Deco

    2011. African mahogany, MDF, clear urushi, linen, clay, roiro urushi, carbon powder, Tsugaru Nuri polishing technique, Fuki urushi technique

    66" x 42" x 8.5"

    Photo: Dean Powell

    Inquire

  • 06.ZeltsermanMiyajiY_TsugaruDeco_DeanPowell1
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Tsugaru Deco, with some doors open

    2011. African mahogany, MDF, clear urushi, linen, clay, roiro urushi, carbon powder, Tsugaru Nuri polishing technique, Fuki urushi technique

    66" x 42" x 8.5"

    Photo: Dean Powell

    Inquire

  • 05.ZeltsermanMiyajiY_WallShelves_DeanPowell
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Wall Shelves

    Mahogany, urushi, pigment, MDF, Kawari Nuri polishing technique

    21" x 37.4" x 5.1"

    Inquire

  • 04.YMiyaji-Zeltserman_Karajishi1
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Karajishi

    2008. Mahogany, urethane, urushi, black urushi

    24" x 15" x 11"

    Inquire

  • 03.ZeltsermanMiyajiY_MandalaWithClouds
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Mandala with Clouds

    2008. Willow, linen, urethane, black urushi, colored urushi

    17" x 18" x 4"

    Inquire

  • 02.dragonwithclouds image
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Dragon with Clouds

    2008. Mahogany, clear urushi, urethane, urushi powder, pigmented urushi, black urushi, plywood, willow

    19" x 22.5" x 9.75"

    Inquire

  • 01.ZeltsermanMiyajiY_Kunyo-kunyo
    Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
    Kunyo Kunyo

    Begun in Japan, 1999. Completed in United States, 2005.
    Japanese ash, linen, clear urushi, black urushi, green lacquer, gold leaf.

    77.75" x 24" x 24"

    Inquire


Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Light and Shadow

Urushi box sculpture with drawers. Mahogany, clear urushi, pigments, black urushi, cotton linen, kawari nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Light and Shadow

Urushi box sculpture with drawers. Mahogany, clear urushi, pigments, black urushi, cotton linen, kawari nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Light and Shadow

Urushi box sculpture with drawers. Mahogany, clear urushi, pigments, black urushi, cotton linen, kawari nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Nocturne: Four Seasons

2014. Mahogany, oak, roiro (black) urushi, colored urushi, pigment, cotton linen, egg shell, mother of pearl, hand-fabricated, coated and turned brass knobs, kawari nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Nocturne: Four Seasons

2014. Mahogany, oak, roiro (black) urushi, colored urushi, pigment, cotton linen, egg shell, mother of pearl, hand-fabricated, coated and turned brass knobs, kawari nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Nocturne: Four Seasons

2014. Mahogany, oak, roiro (black) urushi, colored urushi, pigment, cotton linen, egg shell, mother of pearl, hand-fabricated, coated and turned brass knobs, kawari nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Nocturne: Four Seasons

2014. Mahogany, oak, roiro (black) urushi, colored urushi, pigment, cotton linen, egg shell, mother of pearl, hand-fabricated, coated and turned brass knobs, kawari nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Nocturne: Four Seasons

2014. Mahogany, oak, roiro (black) urushi, colored urushi, pigment, cotton linen, egg shell, mother of pearl, hand-fabricated, coated and turned brass knobs, kawari nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Cube

2013. Mahogany, linen, roiro urushi, clear urushi, pigment, charcoal


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Cube

2013. Mahogany, linen, roiro urushi, clear urushi, pigment, charcoal


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Willow Deco, with doors open

2012. Mahogany, urushi, black pigment, colored pigment, MDF, Kawari Nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Willow Deco

2012. Mahogany, urushi, black pigment, colored pigment, MDF, Kawari Nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Table Shelves

2012. Mahogany, urushi, black pigment, colored pigment, Kawari Nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Screen Shelves

2012. White oak, urushi, black pigment, roiro urushi


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Roiro Wall Shelves

2012. Mahogany, urushi, pigment, roiro, MDF, Kawari Nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Tsugaru Deco

2011. African mahogany, MDF, clear urushi, linen, clay, roiro urushi, carbon powder, Tsugaru Nuri polishing technique, Fuki urushi technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Tsugaru Deco, with some doors open

2011. African mahogany, MDF, clear urushi, linen, clay, roiro urushi, carbon powder, Tsugaru Nuri polishing technique, Fuki urushi technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Wall Shelves

Mahogany, urushi, pigment, MDF, Kawari Nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Karajishi

2008. Mahogany, urethane, urushi, black urushi


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Mandala with Clouds

2008. Willow, linen, urethane, black urushi, colored urushi


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Dragon with Clouds

2008. Mahogany, clear urushi, urethane, urushi powder, pigmented urushi, black urushi, plywood, willow


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Kunyo Kunyo

Begun in Japan, 1999. Completed in United States, 2005.
Japanese ash, linen, clear urushi, black urushi, green lacquer, gold leaf.


Artwork Inquire Form

×

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Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Light and Shadow

Urushi box sculpture with drawers. Mahogany, clear urushi, pigments, black urushi, cotton linen, kawari nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Light and Shadow

Urushi box sculpture with drawers. Mahogany, clear urushi, pigments, black urushi, cotton linen, kawari nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Light and Shadow

Urushi box sculpture with drawers. Mahogany, clear urushi, pigments, black urushi, cotton linen, kawari nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Nocturne: Four Seasons

2014. Mahogany, oak, roiro (black) urushi, colored urushi, pigment, cotton linen, egg shell, mother of pearl, hand-fabricated, coated and turned brass knobs, kawari nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Nocturne: Four Seasons

2014. Mahogany, oak, roiro (black) urushi, colored urushi, pigment, cotton linen, egg shell, mother of pearl, hand-fabricated, coated and turned brass knobs, kawari nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Nocturne: Four Seasons

2014. Mahogany, oak, roiro (black) urushi, colored urushi, pigment, cotton linen, egg shell, mother of pearl, hand-fabricated, coated and turned brass knobs, kawari nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Nocturne: Four Seasons

2014. Mahogany, oak, roiro (black) urushi, colored urushi, pigment, cotton linen, egg shell, mother of pearl, hand-fabricated, coated and turned brass knobs, kawari nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Nocturne: Four Seasons

2014. Mahogany, oak, roiro (black) urushi, colored urushi, pigment, cotton linen, egg shell, mother of pearl, hand-fabricated, coated and turned brass knobs, kawari nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Cube

2013. Mahogany, linen, roiro urushi, clear urushi, pigment, charcoal


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Cube

2013. Mahogany, linen, roiro urushi, clear urushi, pigment, charcoal


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Willow Deco, with doors open

2012. Mahogany, urushi, black pigment, colored pigment, MDF, Kawari Nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Willow Deco

2012. Mahogany, urushi, black pigment, colored pigment, MDF, Kawari Nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Table Shelves

2012. Mahogany, urushi, black pigment, colored pigment, Kawari Nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Screen Shelves

2012. White oak, urushi, black pigment, roiro urushi


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Roiro Wall Shelves

2012. Mahogany, urushi, pigment, roiro, MDF, Kawari Nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Tsugaru Deco

2011. African mahogany, MDF, clear urushi, linen, clay, roiro urushi, carbon powder, Tsugaru Nuri polishing technique, Fuki urushi technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Tsugaru Deco, with some doors open

2011. African mahogany, MDF, clear urushi, linen, clay, roiro urushi, carbon powder, Tsugaru Nuri polishing technique, Fuki urushi technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Wall Shelves

Mahogany, urushi, pigment, MDF, Kawari Nuri polishing technique


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Karajishi

2008. Mahogany, urethane, urushi, black urushi


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Mandala with Clouds

2008. Willow, linen, urethane, black urushi, colored urushi


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Dragon with Clouds

2008. Mahogany, clear urushi, urethane, urushi powder, pigmented urushi, black urushi, plywood, willow


Artwork Inquire Form

×

Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
Kunyo Kunyo

Begun in Japan, 1999. Completed in United States, 2005.
Japanese ash, linen, clear urushi, black urushi, green lacquer, gold leaf.


Artwork Inquire Form

×

For over thirty years, Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji has masterfully worked with urushi (Japanese lacquer) and wood. Her furniture is fabricated and formed without screws and nails, using the ancient tradition of mortis and tenon joinery.

Miyaji is a pioneer as well as a master furniture maker, the first female Japanese artist combining historical techniques and materials to create contemporary furniture reflecting the American Studio Furniture movement.

Miyaji incorporates ancient and contemporary designs using various methods of kawari-nuri (pattern-making) techniques. Layers of polished urushi and paint are combined to bring out intricate patterns and saturated colors. Several layers of urushi are applied to each piece, with each layer taking weeks or months to dry properly.

Miyaji’s rich cultural heritage is reflected in her traditional practices and techniques. Inlaid eggshell is used for decoration, linen on wood for strength, and Japanese brushes made from women’s hair for painting. Her urushi is hand-mixed, starting with a clear urushi powder (akaro urushi) and various pigments are mixed for two to three hours. The importance of keeping the tradition of urushi furniture alive inspires Miyaji to use everyday materials such as beans, macaroni, rice, or soles of slippers to create richly embellished and exquisitely lacquered surfaces.

Statement

It all started for me when I was a student at the Kyoto City University of Art in the early 1970s. I saw a slideshow of something new and current being made by artists in America: contemporary studio furniture. American artists were moving beyond craft and making pieces that were truly sculptural. It was the convergence of sculpture and furniture, by women such as Judy Kensley McKie and Wendy Maruyama, that captivated me. I switched my major from urushi (Japanese lacquer) to wood, and decided to devote my artistic career to making functional and sculptural studio furniture.

Urushi is a material iwth a long history in Japan and one that I feel a deep connection to. I strove to develop my own artistic sense and style using traditional materials and techniques in a contemporary way. My furniture was something new and different in Japan and I’m not sure if it was really understood. I was something of a novelty, a woman furniture-maker working in what was considered a man’s field.

Ten years ago, I moved to America and began to make and show my work here. I shared a group studio surrounded by other artist’s work and became aware of the differences in my work. I realized my woodworking techniques, urushi finishing, and artistic sense has a rich tradition, and the roots of Japanese culture became my inspiration.

The influence of Japan is reflected in my Butsudan series. These are not traditional butsudan (family altars), but a contemporary version. One common thread in my work has been to make pieces to hold or display objects that are precious or important in some way.

After completing the Butsudan series, I worked on the Chigai-dana series. A chicai-dana (stepped shelf) is traditionally used to display and showcase objects in a Japanese home. My contemporary version illustrates my vision of creating a balanced structure with open spaces.

Selected Collections

  • Museum of Art and Design, New York City, NY
  • Peabody-Essex Museum, Salem, MA
  • Numerous private collections throughout the United States