Sarah Brayer is internationally known for her poured washi paperworks and aquatint prints.

Brayer’s art is in the collections of the British Museum, the Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian and the American Embassy, Tokyo. Sarah Brayer was invited as the first artist ever, to exhibit her art at Byodoin Temple, a World Heritage site dating from the Heian period, as part of Kyoto’s 1200 yr. celebration in 1992.  In 2007, she was chosen as the first western woman cover artist for the 52nd CWAJ Contemporary Print Show in Tokyo, Japan.

Initially, the Rochester, New York native embarked on printmaking in London in 1978. The following year she received her B.A. in Art cum laude from Connecticut College and within months left on a journey to Japan. Drawn to Japanese art through raku-style ceramics and the color aquatints of Mary Cassatt, she studied Japanese woodblock printing with Toshi Yoshida (1911-1996) the son of artist Hiroshi Yoshida. Her interest in color gradation was piqued by the woodblock technique, and she subsequently applied similar gradations to her color aquatints. She began exhibiting in 1982, and has continued to show internationally in more than 130 solo shows in Japan, Hong Kong, USA, and Europe. In 1986 she opened her own print studio in an old kimono weaving factory in northern Kyoto.

Brayer first encountered poured washi-the technique she soon adopted as her own-during a visit to Dieu Donne paper studio in New York City in 1986. This somewhat unpredictable, yet painterly technique seemed a perfect blend of chance and design, led her to the ancient Japanese paper center of Echizen as the place to experiment with large-scale poured-paper images. She has worked there continuously since 1986, as the only western artist to do so.

Brayer’s largest work to date is Katsura Squares, a 42 ft. long washi mural is installed at Ozumo Oakland.

Washi as an artform has been practiced in Japan for over 1000 years. As a western artist, I bring a sensibility to the medium that is not bound by tradition. The scale, power and beauty of washi continues to excite and challenge me. Painting in washi, brings me immediately into the present. Many of my works are well-choreographed before I begin,  as the fibers hit the screen and begin to swirl, I am transported into a meditative state where assumptions are suspended and a dance of the moment begins…”


Currently residing in Kyoto, Brayer divides her working time among Kyoto, Imadate, and New York City.


about sarah / bio / process / commissions