Meet the Artist: Setsuko Hayashi - Little Tokyo Service Center

Meet the Artist: Setsuko Hayashi

Meet the Artist: Setsuko Hayashi

Every year, the Social Services Department works with local artists to design a Nengajō (New Year’s card). This year, we worked with Setsuko Hayashi-san who is a long-term Casa Heiwa resident in Little Tokyo. She used two traditional textile techniques to design the card: (1) beeswax-dyeing, in which wax from bees is melted and used, and (2) Katazome, in which patterns are dyed using stencils made from Japanese paper and glue made from glutinous rice. Please enjoy her art piece and meet Hayashi-san! 

Art has been a part of my life ever since I can remember. It isn’t to show anyone, but to calm down the feelings of wanting to draw and wanting to express emotions that well up in me from the deepest parts of my heart. I naturally found myself running a pen through the air and sketching the scene in front of my eyes. 

After entering art college, I studied Yuzen dyeing, a technique handed down for over 400 years. After graduation, as a professor at a textile school, I traveled around the world for international exchanges and exhibitions through art. And I also lived in Indonesia for five years, where I learned Batik on silk, a traditional Indonesian dyeing technique. I have also worked extensively, as my designs have been used for movie posters, restaurant goodwill, and many other things. I have been able to see the world thanks to art. 

The two techniques used in the design of this New Year’s card are beeswax dyeing and Katazome. Beeswax dyeing uses melted wax from bees and Katazome is a traditional Japanese dyeing technique in which patterns are dyed using stencils made from Japanese paper and glue made from glutinous rice. The main parts of this artwork, the rabbit and the full moon, are done with beeswax dye, and the flower part uses Katazome. 

I came up with the design for the Year of the Rabbit as soon as I received the request from LTSC, and I was able to finish it in about three days. I was excited from the design composition to the finishing touches, and although I am 86 years old, I never felt tired or in pain throughout the process. When I am involved in art, I have a lot of energy, and I just have a lot of fun! 

For me, art is truly a driving force for life. When I wake up in the morning and look out the window, my senses take in various colors, smells, and sights. All of this is the inspiration for my daily artwork. Even when I am walking around town, ideas for the next piece come to me. I think it is no exaggeration to say that I am being kept alive by art.

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