Mika Negishi laidlaw

Artist Statement

I am not a quick learner. After three decades of working with clay, I finally feel I am getting the hang of it. Progress comes slowly for me, yet I remain hopeful and optimistic of my growth as an artist. My heroes are those who created their best work later in their lives, and I strive to be like them. I come from a long chain of people who deeply cared about what they did and what they left behind. When I am focused in the studio, I feel most connected to them. My work is an honest expression of my gratitude to the ones I miss dearly, and it is also about the hope for the younger generations who carry on the legacy. My most recent work is inspired by microscopic photographs of seeds. I am fascinated by a tiny seed carrying the potential of the whole plant and even of the specie. I see them as ultimate symbolism of hope for the future. Last few years has been one of the most challenging times for all of us. Researching microscopic photographs of seeds kept me driven and motivated during the time of uncertainty. I used vibrant colors and textures to express my admiration to resilience, vitality, and generational wisdom of those tiny seeds.


Born and raised in Kobe, Japan, Mika Negishi Laidlaw has been working both in the U. S. and Japan. She currently teaches as an Associate Professor of Art at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She earned B.A. in Studio Art from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville in 1994. From 1994 to 1997, she worked as a ceramic apprentice at Akishino Pottery in Nara-City, Japan, and studied traditional pottery under Masaya Imanishi. In 2000, She received her M.F.A. in Ceramics from Kansas State University where she met her lifetime mentor Yoshiro Ikeda. Other accomplishments include; recipient of 2001 McKnight Artist Residencies for Ceramic Artist at Northern Clay Center, Summer Artist Residence at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Art in 2003, and 2004 Emerging Artist at the annual conference of National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) in Indianapolis, demonstrator of 2006 NCECA in Portland, OR, and recipient of 2011 and 2006 McKnight Fellowship for Ceramic Artists. She exhibited nationally and internationally including, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Guam, and Spain. Mika lives in Mankato, Minnesota with her husband Les and two small children.