• I am both an artist and an art teacher, and believe that is very important to my students.  I face the same challenges that each of them do when faced with the blank page.  I understand the difficulty in making quality artwork in a less than ideal environment (many students in the classroom, not much room to spread out, and lots of distractions).  Consequently, I try to make the art room at Sakai feel more like an art studio, with a more relaxed atmosphere than a standard classroom.  Students call me by my first name (MJ), and can help themselves to herbal tea.  They can use a variety of materials and many
    I’ve been a practicing professional artist for over 40 years, and feel like I am still learning how to make art. I teach art at Sonoji Sakai Intermediate School, and believe I learn as much from my students as I teach them, while trying not to get in their way as their creativity soars. Now that I’ve turned 60 (!), I’m less interested in following rules, and more interested in following my muse. 
     
    My first book was a class assignment in layout and design in high school art class.  I had no idea a tthat time that I would get bitten by the book arts bug and never recover.  After side-trips into other media (some short and some remarkably long-lived), I now focus on printmaking and bookmaking under the press name of Bad Girl Press.  I enjoy the mystery and unpredictable nature of printmaking, and the controlled, precise aspects of bookmaking (thank you, Hazel Koenig).  Although I continue to make ‘serious’ books, I have become increasingly intrigued by popups and moveable structures, and have amassed an embarrassingly large collection of popup books.  As I continue to explore paper engineering, I do wish I had paid much better attention in both math and science classes.
     
    Art saves lives.