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Legendary Textile Artist Kay Sekimachi’s Renovated Berkeley Victorian Is a True Creative Haven
A new book from Rizzoli brings us into the richly layered residence of Sekimachi and her late husband, woodturner Bob Stockdale.
Born in 1926, pioneering fiber artist and
native San Francisco has spent the past 40-plus years living and working in an 1895 Victorian duplex in Berkeley, Kay Sekimachi . California by family friend and architect Albert Lanier in 1979, the residence is a warm, airy space that speaks volumes about the rich life Sekimachi shared with her late husband, celebrated woodturner Bob Stockdale—and her continued, visionary creativity. Renovated
Architect Albert Lanier transformed Kay Sekimachi and Bob Stockdale’s Berkeley Victorian into a bright, open-plan residence that holds a treasure trove of work done by the couple and their friends. A small bedroom is tucked in the back of the upstairs aerie.
Bay Area photographer Leslie Williamson brings us into the artist’s incomparable home in the new book
Interior Portraits: At Home With Cultural Pioneers and Creative Mavericks (Rizzoli), which profiles 13 creatives in California through the lens of their most intimate spaces. Keep scrolling to get a glimpse of Sekimachi’s storied home, and find out more about the book below.
The main living area features pieces by George Nakashima and Sam Maloof. Japanese tansu cabinets frame the space, each adorned with artwork and souvenirs from nature.
The dining table and chairs were a wedding present from Maloof to Stockdale, his best friend. Stockdale’s finished bowls are arranged on the bookshelf.
The mezzanine, which used to be Sekimachi’s main work studio but now serves as an archive, holds a daybed that’s ideal for napping.
When photographer Leslie Williamson visited the home, the artist’s monofilament pieces and a series of “twine line” sculptures were fastened to the wall. Massively inspired by nature, Sekimachi keeps trinkets her beachcombing trips in Hawaii in additional tansu cabinets.
A separate weaving annex holds two looms, one of which was built by Stockdale to Sekimachi’s specifications. Sekimachi, a second-generation Japanese American who was interned with her family during World War II, first became interested in textiles in 1949 when she walked by fiber arts students at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. She scrounged up $100 to buy herself her first loom. “I tell you, that was the best one hundred and fifty dollars I ever spent,” she says.
Acclaimed photographer, author, and Bay Area native Leslie Williamson returns to her roots with a tribute to the most fertile soil for creativity: California. Following her ultra-successful Handcrafted Modern and Modern Originals, Leslie Williamson is back with an original and compelling take on California’s pioneering cultural and creative forces. Williamson’s distinctive, warm photography of charming, often handcrafted interiors combined with personal, compelling texts create intimate, revealing portraits of the homes of design and lifestyle trailblazers. Featured homes include fashion designer Christina Kim’s airy loft in downtown Los Angeles; chef Alice Waters’s book-lined Craftsman bungalow in Berkeley; and artist Alma Allen’s studio and home in the desert, filled with his finished and in-progress biomorphic wood and bronze sculptures. Powerfully personal and deeply authentic, this beautiful book will appeal not only to lovers of bohemian architecture but also to anyone who feels the pull of the West Coast lifestyle. Showcasing thirteen unique homes from the rugged coast of Big Sur to the sunlight-filled modernist structures of Los Angeles and San Diego, this book is a journey through the very best that California design has to offer. Photo courtesy of Rizzoli Publisher: Rizzoli
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