Hi, I'm Sayaka


I’m a visual artist using discarded plastic objects to make sculpture and installation work. Although I’m Japanese, my parents raised my brothers and me in a non-religious setting and I’m new to Zen practice. I wouldn’t really categorize myself as Buddhist, I’m interested in a variety of spiritual practices.

I applied for the Tending Space Fellowship last year because I had been very focused on my studio practice for the past three years and although I was getting a good number of commission work, I had completely neglected self care and my work had become very separate from the rest of my life, and I was feeling out of balance. Now the commissions stopped coming in, and I feel as though the Universe is forcing me to pause and re-evaluate how I’m living my life. I don’t know what I’m going to do financially, but meditation is helping me deal with anxiety and fear of the unknown.


Hi Sayaka,

I think time to pause and reflect is very important. How might it look to suffuse your arts practice with an attitude and moments of self-care throughout and around it?


Dan, I would love to do that, but I might be thinking so because I’m already in pause. It will take some discipline for me to get to the point where I really am able to incorporate self care and contemplation in my art practice even when I’m under a tight deadline. I recently set up a home shrine in my studio after my Zen mentor Rinsen suggested it, and so now when I go into my studio I have a very brief ritual I go through before beginning to work. I’m hoping that this could remind me when I’m very busy to pause every once in a while.


Mmm, that sounds wonderful! Just reading about your shrine ritual gave me a nice pause :smile:


Hi Sayaka! It was nice to meet you last summer at Zen Mountain Monastery. I still have the brochure of your art and have shown it to several people, all of whom have loved it. It was nice to read what our shared mentor Rinsen suggested for your art practice and shrine ritual. I incorporated something similar (just a simple bow) into my art routine after reading “The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life” by John Daido Loori (founder of Zen Mountain). I often think about what Ryushin said while we were out in the catskills about how there is one life and one mind. The more we set up different facets of our life (spiritual, artistic, work, family) the more there is tension between them, it is all one practice. I look forward to hearing more about how you are doing and what you are working on. Take care!


Thank you Dan. I feel good about having a shrine. All I do is to change the water in the cup, light the candle and incense, do three standing bows and then turn the candle and incense off, but it serves as a reminder to give myself time and space.

Clint, it was nice meeting you too. Thanks for showing my brochure to your friends. I would love to hear more about your retreat, and about your work too!