Growing up in Tokyo, Yoshiko Yamamoto’s love of printmaking began early. She always admired the dexterity and artistry of such traditional woodblock print artists as Hiroshige and Hokusai in Japan. In Tokyo she studied sculpture at Tama Art University in Japan, where she learned to use chisels and work with wood.
Then after moving to California, she studied classical music and modern American and Japanese history at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1996 she and her husband, Bruce Smith, founded The Arts & Crafts Press and they began printing publications, note cards, block prints, using old letterpress printing presses.
For her limited edition prints, Yoshiko first sketches flora and fauna she finds either in America or Japan–anything from fir trees, pines, maples, and poppies, to heron, koi fish, and crickets–and then after multiple drawings and watercolors she begins cutting blocks. Sometimes she works with woodblocks, usually cherry, and other times she chooses linoleum. Yoshiko also uses hard photopolymer plates, a modern alternative to metal etched blocks, for some of the color blocks. She then takes these blocks and plates, each color separately on a Vandercook printing press, using as many as twenty blocks per print to achieve the desired effect.
Yoshiko now lives in Port Orchard, a small coastal town of Washington with her husband and their children.