My ancestors, who immigrated to this country in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, arrived by water. They traveled from Yamaguchi, Ehime, Kumamoto and Aomori prefectures in Japan to arrive by ship in Seattle, San Francisco and Honolulu.
In the series, Float, I photograph Japanese glass floats which have also made their way across the Pacific Ocean. Beginning in the early 1900’s, Japanese fisherman began using these glass balls to buoy their fishing nets. When they broke free from rope nets, many found their way into the Kuroshio current, which sent them into a large circular ocean route, passing by the coasts of Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, California and the Hawaiian Islands. Only when a storm altered their path would they end up washed ashore on beaches.
The floats were hand blown with inexpensive glass, usually melted down sake bottles, which accounts for their green and blue color. Each is a unique object, something like a fingerprint, with individual shapes, patterns of air bubbles and circular closures.
I see these floats as a way of thinking about those who came before me, and about larger issues of migration, permanence, tenacity and the paths that lead us from one place to another.