Monday, March 7, 2011

Gordon Uyehara


Gordon is one of the most respected metal clay artists in the world. His work sets a new standard in the metal clay arts and he is a sought after instructor for both the depth of his technical expertise and his esthetic. If you know metal clay, then you know Gordon Uyehara.

But, really, how much do we know about anyone? I know Gordon, but I had no idea how he came to art and metal clay so I decided to find out. Now, you will also know a bit of his history and his journey to master artist.

Poor Gordon, he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii! All those brutal winters! But, I jest, none of us decide where we land and he was just lucky to land in paradise. He also hails from a family of artists – his sister is a fine artist doing small scale wood sculptures, after retiring, his Dad returned to the university and earned his Masters in sculpture. Art “runs in the family”.

Gordon’s journey began with pencil and paper. He says he liked to draw and even today, he sketches out his pieces before he makes them.

Gordon attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa where he received his Bachelor of Science in ICS. That’s Information and Computer Science so we know he knows his way around when it comes to what we sometimes call the “magic box”. Gordon actually understands the magic in the box. He worked for the university doing web support, but found the environment a bit staid, a bit restricting – as he says “another concession in a list of compromises of a yawn inducing life” (good words!) and he was badly in need of a change.

By late April of ’02, Gordon had his big wake up moment. Literally, it was 2 am and he woke up and wrote his resignation announcement. It was both liberating and disconcerting – he took the big first step on a path of uncertainty.

That summer, the next big turn came in the form of a little advertisement in the Honolulu Weekly about silver clay being taught at a local bead store. I think this is probably the best reason I’ve ever heard for protecting print newspapers! He called and signed up.

It was in that class taught by Sally Yoshida, that silver clay caught his interest – it was intriguing and it challenged him. Gordon invested a lot of time and money in his exploration of the medium and it paid off. He figured it out and now he’s an Art Clay Silver Senior Instructor.

Because we can do, does not automatically mean we can teach, When a local instructor at a bead store decided to take a break, Gordon was invited to try teaching. He stepped out again, met that challenge, discovered he is a teacher and he still teaches at this very same bead shop today.

Gordon is inspired by nature, science fiction, by other artists and smart, creative people, in general. I asked him where his art comes from and he said “Art comes from the need to express yourself”. It sure does.


We are honored and pleased to offer workshops by the one and only Gordon Uyehara at CraftEdu.

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