Art exchange

MARQUETTE – Laura Maze of Republic had a successful art show in Higashiomi, Japan, last fall.

Her three-day exhibition was a part of the Sister Cities Artist Exchange program which was started by Taro Kojima back in 2002.

“She had a very successful exhibition and she sold several high dollar pieces,” said Paulette Lindberg, Sister City representative. “People really liked her products.”

Maze majored in printmaking at Northern Michigan University. She wanted to continue making prints after she graduated, but found that buying a press was too costly.

“I saw an article about a woman who printed using unflavored gelatin,” Maze said. “I love working with the ink and the hues you get from that particular medium.”

Her artwork is abstract, and while she was advised by Kojima to not reveal her process, she did say she uses gelatin and ink to create the images. The ink dries very quickly so she is able to layer colors one on top of another to make a image.

“I like landscapes. I want to see how many different ways I can develop my prints,” Maze said.

This was her fourth trip to Japan and her second exhibition. She sold six of her pieces during the exhibit. She was amazed how quickly her exhibit went up in Japan, and apparently so many people volunteered to set up that it was done in no time at all.

“The people I stayed with the last three visits to Japan were also part of the committee that organized my exhibit and they were so welcoming and I just miss them,” Maze said.

When Kojima had his exhibit in Marquette in 2002 he surprised the Sister City delegation by saying that all the proceeds from the exhibition would go to an artist exchange fund to bring artists from Japan to Marquette and Marquette artists to Japan.

Each artist who has been a part of the exchange has donated money to the artist exchange fund and Maze plans to continue the tradition by holding a show sometime in the future so she too can donate to the program.

“She wants to do an exhibition here at the library or at moonshine gallery and contribute some of the money to the artist fund,” Lindberg said.

Many of Kojima’s pieces were on display at Peter White Public Library until they were moved last fall to the Michigamme Moonshine Art Gallery to be sold. Kojima sent several more pieces to sell during Christmas. Another artist – Mayumi Kakimi – also donated her remaining pieces of art when she was here for the artist exchange program in 2008.

“She donated all of her unsold pieces as well as the money from the pieces she sold,” Lindberg said.

Sylvia Stevens can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.