When I was a young teenager, my family visited Oberammergau, a small town in Bavaria, Germany, that is famous for woodcarving. Among the souvenirs my mother brought back from that trip were several finely turned bowls and a small vase, which I still have. My love of wood vessels began with those pieces. I remember returning to them repeatedly to cup them in my hands and stroke their shaped smoothness.
Many threads in my life came together when I took up woodturning. Much of what I bring to turning comes from my Japanese heritage: the philosophy of practice, as applied to crafts and more; a worldview that sees wood as an expression of living energy; an aesthetic, perhaps best expressed in the tea ceremony, that embraces the humble as well as the elegant. More concretely, the practice for several years of shiatsu, Japanese acupressure, refined my sense of touch. My sense of form comes directly from Japanese pottery: not only did I learn pottery making in Kyoto, but all of the various Japanese dishes I have fed myself from for as long as I can remember endure as memory in my hands. My Japanese heritage is genetic as well: my grandmother was a painter and calligrapher; my mother is a dancer, a musician, a poet, and a painter; one sister is a painter and a glass artist.
From my creative and professional life too come threads. In particular, as a poet, a prose writer, and an editor for more than two decades, I have learned the art of cutting. I keep handy as inspiration a quotation from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: “Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add but when there is no longer anything to take away” (from Wind, Sand and Stars). For me, in woodturning, perfection is not some artificial ideal but an expression of the wood’s essential nature, flaws and all, and one’s ability to see (and commit to) the perfection present in the raw chunk of wood is a tool that must be honed as sharp as any gouge.
In this commitment to the wood and to the art of turning is the most important thread of all. As a part of my nature, passion is a quality that I bring to all my endeavors, but with woodturning, that passion has become for me a calling.
One final thread bears mention: the idea of home. I grew up itinerant and didn’t begin to find a home until I was in my twenties. I have found two homes in my life, one in Kyoto, the other in the desert Southwest. Each nurtures different, even opposite, aspects of my nature. In Kyoto, I remember balance and am steeped in an appreciation of beauty that is cellular. In the Arizona desert, my spirit remembers wildness and soars in sun. Somehow—through the wildness of the wood and the discipline of the art—woodturning brings me home to both.
- “Stage(s)(ing).” Yun Gee Park Gallery and Atelier, Tucson, September 24, 2021–ongoing. Three-person show with Aurore Chabot and Colleen Quigley.
- “Out of the Woods: Traditional Form Revisited.” American Association of Woodturners (AAW) Gallery of Wood Art, St. Paul, March 4–May 20, 2018. AAW Annual Symposium, Portland, Oregon, June 13–17, 2018. POP invitational exhibition.
- “Beyond Containment.” American Association of Woodturners Gallery of Wood Art, St. Paul, March 4–May 24, 2012. AAW Annual Symposium, San José, June 7–11, 2012. POP invitational exhibition.
- “Beyond Containment.” Jewish Community Center Fine Art Gallery, Tucson. February 2–March 13, 2012. Two-person show with C. J. Shane.
- Various. Flux Gallery, Tucson. October 2009–July 2012. Four- to nine-person mixed-media shows.
- “Create: The Mysterious Art of Wood.” Cape Fear Studios, Fayetteville, North Carolina. March 25–April 20, 2011. Invitational group show.
- Artist of the Month. Tohono Chul Park, Tucson. October 1–28, 2009. Featured artist.
- “Contemporary Crafts: Baskets, Bowls, Boxes and Bags.” Tohono Chul Park, Tucson. June 3–July 13, 2009. Group show.
- “Wood You Believe.” Details Art and Design, Tucson. October 3–November 3, 2008. Six-person group show featuring wood artists. Organizer and artist.
- “ConneXtions: A Collaboration of Glass and Wood.” AAW Gallery of Wood Art, St. Paul. June 26–December 15, 2007. Group show jointly sponsored by the International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB) and the AAW.
- “12 × 12 Holiday Show.” Textures and Robert Roman Galleries at artspace, Scottsdale, Arizona. December 1–January 2, 2005. Six-person mixed-media group show.
- “Serenity.” Textures Gallery at artspace, Scottsdale, Arizona. May 19–July 7, 2005. Two-person show with fiber artist Judy Harmony. For more details, see the press release and photographs of the work on display.
- “Not Fit for Human Consumption.” WomanKraft, Tucson. February 7–March 27, 2004. Group show featuring coffee as subject and medium.
Juried Art Shows
- Tucson Museum of Art Spring Artisans Market, Tucson. 12th–18th and 20th–26th annual shows, 2004–2010, 2012–2018.
- Tucson Museum of Art Holiday Artisans Market, Tucson. 23rd–30th and 32nd–38th annual shows, 2004–2011, 2013–2019.
- St. Philip’s Outdoor Art Show, Tucson. 19th annual show, 2011.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Southwest Flair A-Fair, Tucson. 14th–22nd annual shows, 2004–2010, 2013–2014.
- Shemer Art Center and Museum Home for the Holidays, Phoenix. Invitational show, December 2011.
- Fountain Hills Great Fair, Fountain Hills, Arizona. 23rd annual show, 2010.
- Patagonia Fall Festival, Patagonia, Arizona. 21st annual show, 2009. Jury Award winner.
- Flagstaff Art in the Park Fourth of July Show, Flagstaff. 3rd annual show, 2009.
- Tubac Festival of the Arts, Tubac, Arizona. 48th–49th annual shows, 2007–2008.
- Casa Grande Fine Art Explosion, Casa Grande, Arizona. Invitational show, March 15–16, 2008.
- Street of Dreams Sidewalk Art Show, Oro Valley, Arizona. Special invitational show, March 24–25, 2007.
- WomanKraft Holiday Bazaar, Tucson. Invitational show, November 1–December 20, 2003.
Demonstrations and Classes
- “Igniting Creativity,” “Inspiration and Expression,” and “Design.” Prescott Area Woodturners, Prescott, Arizona, June 2019.
- “Winged Bowls” and “Inspiration and Expression.” Bay Area Woodturners, Pleasant Hill, California, May 2019.
- “How to Display Your Work.” Southern Arizona Woodturners Association, Tucson, April 2019.
- “Design,” with James Beaman. Southern Arizona Woodturners Association, Tucson, October 2017.
- “Turn a Blind Eye” and “How to Make a Great Demonstration” (panelist). American Association of Woodturners Annual Symposium, Phoenix. June 13–15, 2014.
- “Turning Safely,” Southern Arizona Woodturners Association, Tucson, May 2013.
- “Artist, Emerging”; “Beyond Beauty: Inspiration and Expression”; and “Redefining Symposiums” (panelist). American Association of Woodturners Annual Symposium, San José. June 8–10, 2012.
- “Beyond Beauty: Inspiration and Expression.” Collectors of Wood Art, St. Paul, Minnesota. June 23, 2011.
- “Filling Cracks: Inlay Basics” and “Beyond Beauty: Inspiration and Expression.” Utah Woodturning Symposium, Orem, Utah. May 6–8, 2010.
- “Touch Wood: A Hands-on Tour of Lynne Yamaguchi’s Turned Bowls” (an Art beyond Sight program). Tohono Chul Park, Tucson. October 13, 2009.
- Demonstration and talk. Murphy-Wilmot Public Library, Tucson. May 10, 2008.
- Day-long demonstration. Channel Island Woodturners, Camarillo, California. April 26, 2008.
- “An Introduction to the Art of Woodturning.” Tucson Museum of Art Docents series. March 24, 2008.
- “In the Spotlight,” “Box Basics,” and “Turning Air.” The WoodWorks Show, York, Pennsylvania. November 9–11, 2007.
- “Box Basics” and “Turning Air.” The WoodWorks Show, Ontario, California. February 23–24, 2007.
- “In the Spotlight,” “Box Basics,” and “Turning Air.” The WoodWorks Show, Portland, Maine. October 27–29, 2006.
- “Turning Spheres.” 2004 Desert Woodcrafters Fall Fling, Sun City Vistoso Community Center, Marana, Arizona. October 30, 2004. Cosponsored by Desert Woodcrafters and the Rancho Vistoso Woodturners.
- “Sharpening Woodturning Tools.” Desert Woodcrafters meeting, Tucson. October 2, 2004.
- “Filling Cracks and Voids.” 2003 Desert Woodcrafters Fall Fling, Sun City Vistoso Community Center, Marana, Arizona. October 4, 2003. Cosponsored by Desert Woodcrafters and the Rancho Vistoso Woodturners.
- “Turning a Bowl.” 2003 Chuck Rhoads Woodturning Memorial Event, Yavapai College, Prescott, Arizona. July 19, 2003. Cosponsored by the Arizona Woodturners Association and the Prescott Area Woodturners.
- 2007 International Turning Exchange, Philadelphia. June–August 2007. Photojournalist and lathe artist. Sponsored by the Wood Turning Center.
- “Lynne Yamaguchi: Flawed Beauty,” by Lorraine A. DarConte, DesertLeaf, Vol. 28, No. 1 (January 2014), pp. 56–57, 59.
- “As the Wood Turns,” by Patty Machelor, Arizona Daily Star, August 12, 2011, pp. C1, C4.
- “Emerging Artists,” by Susan Regan, Phoenix Home and Garden: The Magazine of Southwest Living, March 2010, pp. 75–83 (82–83).
- “Artist Lynne Yamaguchi’s ‘Absolute True Decision,’” by Ben McNitt, “Artistic Tucson,” TucsonCitizen.com, October 26, 2009.
- “My Turn: Returning to Myself” (radio interview). Circles of Change: Conversations with Dr. Zara Larsen on Change Leadership and Career Fulfillment, KJLL (AM 1330), July 6, 2008.
- “International Turning Exchange,” by Holger Graf, Drechsler Magazin: Das moderne Fachmagazin für Hobby, Profi und all Interessierten, spring 2008, pp. 16–21.
- “Gallery” column, Woodwork: A Magazine for All Woodworkers, February 2008, p. 41.
- “Three of a Kind,” by Mark Mussari, Tucson Home magazine, fall 2006, pp. 40–41.
- “Designer Showcase: Lynne Yamaguchi,” Woodturning Design, summer 2005, pp. 52–53.
As Author or Photographer
- “Abundant Imagination: A Case Study in Fostering Creativity,” American Woodturner, Vol. 34, No. 4 (August 2019), pp. 37–39.
- “Uproarious Reciprocation: The 2018 Women in Turning eXchange,” with Kathleen Frey Duncan, American Woodturner, Vol. 34, No. 1 (February 2019), pp. 42–45.
- “Safety Matters: From the Eye of a Survivor,” American Woodturner, Vol. 29, No. 3 (June 2014), pp. 27–29. With online supplements “Assess Your Risk” and “Comparison of Kinetic Energy Values.”
- Photographs, “International Turning Exchange,” by Holger Graf, Drechsler Magazin: Das moderne Fachmagazin für Hobby, Profi und all Interessierten, spring 2008, pp. 16, 21.
- “Community in a Crowded Field,” Turning Points, Vol. 17, No. 1 (fall 2004), pp. 36–37.
- Out of the Woods: Traditional Form Revisited. American Association of Woodturners, 2018.
- “Instant Gallery Awards: Phoenix Symposium 2014.” American Woodturner, Vol. 29, No. 5 (October 2014), inside front cover. Photograph by Andi Wolfe.
- Turning to Art in Wood: A Creative Journey. Schiffer Publishing and the Center for Art in Wood, 2012.
- Beyond Containment. American Association of Woodturners, 2012.
Honors and Awards
- New Works Grant, Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona, Tucson, 2020.
- POP Excellence Award, American Association of Woodturners Annual Symposium, Phoenix, June 13–15, 2014.
- Emerging Artist, American Association of Woodturners Annual Symposium, San José, June 8–10, 2012.
- Jury Award, Patagonia Fall Festival, Patagonia, Arizona, 2009.
Grants and Scholarships
- Creative Capital Professional Development Program, Tucson Pima Arts Council, 2009.
- Conference/Workshop Travel Grant: Individual Artist, Tucson Pima Arts Council, 2007.
- Sam Maloof Scholarship, Anderson Ranch, 2006.
- Educational Opportunity Grant, American Association of Woodturners, 2004.
- Conference/Workshop Travel Grant: Individual Artist, Tucson Pima Arts Council, 2004.
- American Association of Woodturners Annual Symposium. Portland, Oregon, 2018; Phoenix, 2014; St. Paul, 2011; Albuquerque, 2009; Overland Park, Kansas, 2005.
- Momentum: Creative Cities Summit. Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance. Tucson. April 23, 2019.
- Women in Turning (WIT) eXchange. Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, Tennessee. September 2019; September 4–8, 2018.
- Creative Capital Professional Development Program. Tucson. May 1–3, 2009.
- Collectors of Wood Art Forum 2007. Scottsdale, Arizona. January 19, 2008.
- “Beyond Basic Woodturning,” with Mark Gardner. Anderson Ranch, Snowmass Village, Colorado. July 24–28, 2006.
- Wood 2005 World Turning Conference. Philadelphia. September 21–25, 2005. Cosponsored by the Wood Turning Center and Collectors of Wood Art.
- “Intermediate Woodturning,” with Stuart Batty. Craft Supplies, Provo, Utah. July 5–9, 2004.
- Utah Woodturning Symposium. Provo, Utah. June 10–12, 2004; May 8–10, 2003.
- “Introduction to the Lathe,” “Intermediate Woodturning,” “Special Projects” (natural-edge bowl), “Special Projects” (hollow form), with Richard Anderson. Woodcraft, Tucson. January 10, 19, 26; February 22, 2003.
- American Association of Woodturners (since 2004)
- Southern Arizona Woodturners Association, Tucson (founding member)