Q&A with Mississippi-based artist Sheena Ike - creates amazing blues catcher dolls and talks about the Blues

"When I touch with some of people involved in the blues, I feel they are stand on an equal footing. They are not controlled by anyone, not living in the bubble. It does not matter whiter rich or poor, where they live, who they are. They are just touch to me with their soul. Meanwhile, they were sometimes greedy and spoil."

Sheena Ike: Blues Catcher Dolls

If you're a visitor to Clarksdale MS, Sheena “Ike” Ikemazu has done something for the blues that no one else has ever done. A native of Japan and the wife of the Japanese blues guitarist Tada Ikemazu, she started making her Blues Catcher Dolls nine years ago.  Mississippi-based artist Sheena Ike born in Japan, creates Blues Catcher Dolls. Her work is so amazing, and we are so happy to talk with her. Sheena talks about her dolls, the Blues and Southern heritage.

Interview by Michael Limnios

What do you learn about yourself from the Southern Blues people and culture? What does the blues mean to you?

When I touch with some of people involved in the blues, I feel they are stand on an equal footing.

They are not controlled by anyone, not living in the bubble. It does not matter whiter rich or poor, where they live, who they are. They are just touch to me with their soul.

Meanwhile, they were sometimes greedy and spoil.

So, the blues around me to reads makes me keep my feet on the ground.

"Consideration for others. Humility mind. Take good care of things. Work from the ground up. Don’t put the blame on others. I hope the blues is object of someone's passion. I don't hope only the atmosphere is worshiped and the music will be empty." (Photo: Sheena Ike's Blues Catcher Dolls)

What were the reasons that you started the Blues Catcher Doll artwork? Where does your creative drive come from?

There are two reasons.

When I visited for the first time as a tourist to Memphis, I was looking forward to get a souvenir of local musician.

But, I couldn't get any stuff and couldn't feel their atmosphere. Especially the musician who were recently passed away. It seemed like they were not there from the beginning. It was sad.

I thought that there was someone who feels like me.

The Blues is made by their life. And it's highlight human touch. It's like an annual ring. I think It is valuable to not get it easily.

I would like to leave that precious thing to the extent that I can do by myself. I want to re-express what felt from them.

When I started make dolls, I was not sure if make a doll is good thing.

But, I gave a doll for wife who lost husband of bluesman, I got some orders from fans who looking for doll of favorite. In the meantime, when I saw their happy face I wanted to keep making dolls.

Sometimes, my doll can remind them their precious memories. It became an irreplaceable treasure only for them.

Some people have a nice episode about musician of doll even if it is not a legendary story.

It seems like I can see the treasure of that person's life.

These things drive me.

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Consideration for others.

Humility mind.

Take good care of things.

Work from the ground up.

Don’t put the blame on others.

I hope the blues is object of someone's passion.

I don't hope only the atmosphere is worshiped and the music will be empty.

Which acquaintances have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Maybe, I have not realized yet.

But, a small thing crosses my mind that learned from my grandfather and grandmother.

To see with eyes unclouded by hate.

What does to be a female artist in a “Man’s World” as James Brown says? What is the status of women in art?

That is a fact for him.

Regardless of whether men or women we have a own side story.

Do the things Irrespective of age or sex.

Even if men or women I am myself forever. There is nothing to change.

I won't more than necessary intend to rate higher the art of women in particular.

Wonderful thing is wonderful.

How has the Blues and Southern heritage influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

From a stable life to an unstable life.

What is the impact of Blues music and culture to the racial, political, and socio-cultural implications?

It takes root as a foundation.

It is not to recognize as a thing of past, to use it like a dictionary.

To which person would you like to send some of your dolls? What would you say to Bukka White & Bessie Smith?

Anyone my pleasure if they are happy.

I don't think I can say nice thing. I want to express by dancing.

I want to spend more time deeply for today.

I don't want to touch the past brilliant time.

It is better for me to imagine that world.

(Photo: Sheena Ike's Blues Catcher Dolls)

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