Kelly Akashi: Formations Activity Guide

This activity was developed for adults and children while in the galleries or at home. Download and print this activity guide for easy reference.


Kelly Akashi sculpture, bronze hand holding light pink glass flowers with green leaves

Kelly Akashi, Cultivator (Hanami) (detail), 2021. Flame-worked borosilicate glass and lost-wax cast bronze. 9 x 10 x 4 in. Collection of Sonya Yu


Look closely at the artwork pictured above. What’s going on here? What do you see that makes you say that?  

How would you describe this artwork in three words? Do these words have similar meanings or are they more like opposites? 

What materials do you notice? Observe and try to guess before reading the label. 

The title of this artwork is Hanami, which means “flower viewing” in Japanese. When you practice hanami, you usually look at cherry blossoms—just like many people in Seattle do every spring! Cherry blossoms only last a few weeks before they wilt and fall. In this sculpture, Kelly Akashi made the cherry blossoms out of glass. Why do you think she used that material for these blossoms? 



Another Japanese tradition is haiku, a type of short poem that does not usually rhyme. Like Kelly Akashi’s sculptures, these poems are often about nature and may link two very different things, like fragile glass and strong bronze. Many haiku poems are made up of three separate lines. Each line has a specific number of syllables, or the smaller sounds that make up words. Spend time viewing an artwork and then write a haiku about it! 

First line: 5 syllables

Second line: 7 syllables

Third line: 5 syllables



Find something that changes. It could be a plant, the light coming through a window, or even a family member! Act like Kelly Akashi and notice and record what’s changing by drawing what you see. You may only have a few hours between your drawings, or you may have to be patient and wait days or weeks! Note the date and time for each drawing. Once you’ve finished, take a moment to reflect and respond. What’s going on here? What do you see that makes you say that? What changed? What stayed the same? 

Kelly Akashi: Formations is organized by the San José Museum of Art and curated by Lauren Schell Dickens, Chief Curator. The presentation at the Frye Art Museum is organized by Amanda Donnan, Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions.

Major support for Kelly Akashi: Formations provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Fellows of Contemporary Art. Generous support for the Frye’s installation provided by the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, the Frye Foundation, and Frye Members. Media sponsorship provided by The Stranger.