Museum Hours
Thu: 1 PM–8 PM
Fri–Mon: 10 AM–5 PM
Tue–Wed: Closed
200 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Teacher Packet

Kay Sekimachi

Download the full teacher packet from the right-hand sidebar.

Kay Sekimachi (b. 1926) was born and raised in San Francisco. She is recognized as a pioneer in resurrecting fiber as a medium of artistic expression.

Sekimachi grew up in San Francisco with her parents, who were first-generation Japanese Americans. During World War II, she and her family were incarcerated in Topaz, Utah. There, Chiura Obata, who was also imprisoned in Topaz, started an art school, and Sekimachi and her younger sister attended his classes every day. From Obata’s lessons, she learned to fold origami figures, paint, and draw.

In 1946, Sekimachi enrolled at the California College of Arts and Crafts (now known as California College of the Arts) in Oakland, California. Toward the end of her time there, she studied weaving on the loom and became so adept at the labor-intensive process that she is often referred to as a “weaver’s weaver.”

Sekimachi is best known for her three-dimensional sculptural forms that take inspiration from her Japanese heritage. Japanese paper and origami shapes, for instance, are common motifs in her art. Today, she is still weaving in her workshop in Berkeley, California.

Lesson Plans include:

  • Lesson 1: Kay Sekimachi and Family Traditions (Grades 3–12)
  • Lesson 2: Incarceration Camp and Identity (Grades 9–10)
  • Lesson 3: Oral History (Grades 2–12)
  • NEW: Lesson 4: Create a Leaf Bowl
    Alternate Activity: Make a Leaf Etching
  • Bonus Lesson: Make Your Own Cardboard Loom (Grades 6–12)
  • Resources