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Style Magazine

Michiyo Harrigan: Finding Her Flow

Michiyo Harrigan, who was born in Okinawa, Japan, moved to California as a toddler and spent her teen years sewing clothing and accessories, creating art, and experimenting with colorful recipes for her family. Now the mainly self-taught artist works in several mediums, including acrylics, watercolors, silk painting, and resin painting. “Watercolor has always been one of my favorites…but silk [is] more challenging, exciting, and rewarding,” shares Harrigan. “When you first touch your brush to the sensuous fabric and watch the dye flow across the luxurious silk, it’s magical and purely breathtaking.” A member of the Folsom Arts Association, Harrigan is happiest when creating graceful, delicate, and balanced artwork using a technique she refers to as “modern romantic.” 

HLB: What were you like as a young artist? 

MH: Although I moved to California when I was less than two years old, my mom says I inherited my artistic traits from her photography and design abilities, in addition to my uncle’s incredible drawing talent, and my grandmother’s design skills. When I wasn’t roller-skating, riding a bike, or playing outside, I loved keeping my little hands busy with an array of arts and crafts.

HLB: Why do you describe your approach to art as being modern romantic?

MH: Traditional romanticism lends itself toward harmony, beauty, nature, passion, and nostalgia. [This is in] direct opposition to the Enlightenment thinkers who were cold, sterile, and pessimistic. Who needs that? I hope to share my love of warm sandy beaches, stunning sunrises and sunsets, cool ocean breezes, forest and fauna along coastlines, soothing sounds of the sea, abundant flowers, grasses, nature, and all things beautiful—ultimately inspiring viewers through a personal expression using a fresh, modern approach.

HLB: As a wife and mother, how do you create balance in your life to allow time for art?  

MH: I’m blessed with a loving husband and son who have always been incredibly supportive of my artistic endeavors. I’m also thankful to have my own space—a room dedicated just for my art—so I can easily pick up right where I left off. Honestly, I don’t have the perfectly balanced life, but my husband knows when I’m out of whack and when I need to go create. One thing that helps me is scheduling dates with family and friends; we love making memories together, which are the best gifts to give and share. 

HLB: Who have been your biggest artistic influences?

MH: Life coach Bill Mayer said, “Where your focus goes, your energy flows.” I’m thankful for meeting Bill, for his mentoring and motivational guidance, and for teaching me to transform overwhelming worry to exuberant empowerment. My crazy, creative mind often won’t get off the hamster wheel, so this continues to be my life mantra.

HLB: Do you have any future goals for your work? 

MH: I have a few fashion ideas. Be on the lookout for my Wine Wear collection, which will feature art to hang and admire, as well as wear.


OCTOBER 13 – Oktoberfest Craft Fair. Head to St. John the Baptist Church in Folsom from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to peruse and purchase handmade crafts from local makers (quilts, jewelry, wreaths, etc.). Festive music, a silent auction, and food will also be available. Proceeds support Grace Quilters Ministry and other programs within the church. [email protected]