• Dreamers + Doers: Himo Art

    Dreamers + Doers highlights emerging artists, entrepreneurs, and up-and-coming ones to watch. Whether it’s starting a new business, creating something beautiful, or just daring to do things differently, we stand behind those taking steps toward something new.

    Founded by May Sterchi after discovering a newfound love for interior design, Himo Art has been May's creative outlet for the past few years now. With no formal background in art, May uses her love of calligraphy to inspire her weavings and rope work. With her new line of work available exclusively at UO, we took a trip to May's San Diego studio and spoke to her about her life growing up, what inspires her, and where she can be found when she's not working on her many intricate creations.
    Photos by Anthony Masters

    Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
    I was born and raised in a small town at the base of Mt. Fuji in Yamanashi, Japan. I lived in Tokyo and also Shizuoka for a couple of years before I moved to San Diego with my husband in 2004. I always had the dream to start my own business since I was young. So, I worked for myself as a freelance merchandise exporter to gain business experience up until I had my daughter. I decided to be a full-time stay at home mom for about three years after my daughter was born. When she was 7 months old, we moved to a fixer upper house, and my husband and I worked on renovating the house. It took us about 3 years and 7 months to complete the projects. During the process, I became interested in interior design and I realized that I enjoy it so much that I wanted to have my career in the design field. I wouldn’t have gotten where I am now without the house renovation experience so I am grateful to my husband who gave me the opportunity.

    What is your background in art?
    I am a self-taught artist!

    How would you describe your work?
    Harmony between stillness and movement.

    Tell us something most people don’t know about weaving/rope art.
    I found that rope art is very similar to calligraphy. How they flow and move, one knot/stroke at a time. They are both very relaxing.

    What’s fun about living and working in the same space?
    I like the convenience. I can multitask between being a mom, an art maker, and a homemaker.

    What’s difficult about your process?
    My inspiration comes from my childhood experience with most of my work. I think about where, how, and who I grew up with, what my feelings were at specific moments at specific events. And those memories don’t feel like they happened such a long time ago. I often get homesick thinking about my family and friends. I have some sleepless nights. Interestingly enough, those nights are the times I get a lot of my ideas.

    What’s the hardest project you’ve worked on to date?
    I recently had an opportunity to create a piece much larger than what I usually work on. The piece is called Waraji, and it was inspired by old style Japanese sandals made of straw rope. Knotting with bigger and heavier ropes requires physical strength. And also I wanted to make it using only natural fibers without any hard wires, so I went through a lot of trial and error.

    How do you get inspired when you’re feeling stuck in a rut?
    I do a lot of calligraphy. I love its therapeutic effects. I also love to watch movies and listen to music. I jot down all the images I come up with in my mind and I keep them in my desk. When I feel like I want to create something new, I bring up my old notes and start from there.

    Who are some of your favorite artists?
    I love everything Sally England does. I think she is brilliant. I also admire Janelle Pietrzak, Tanya Aguiniga, Maryanne Moodie, and Judit Just very much. They are all incredibly talented.

    What do you like to do when you’re not working?
    Spending time with my family! I have a six year old daughter who loves to make art. We enjoy coloring, drawing, and playing with clay together. My husband is a handyman. He is now working on his new project renovating a 1965 Airstream. I enjoy giving him a hand when I find time. We have three chickens soon to start laying eggs, a bunny I’ve had for 10 years, and a Beta fish. We enjoy taking care of our animals very much as well.

    Favorite places to visit in San Diego?
    All the beautiful beaches and Balboa Park. My husband and I enjoy visiting the local breweries occasionally. Our favorite is Ballast Point.

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