In 1989 Imai moved to the United States from Japan. She previously worked as a fashion stylist before changing direction in 1995 to ceramics. In 1997 she moved to New York and studied clay at the Greenwich Pottery House.
"All my work is individually handmade and each piece is unique. I formulate innovative clay and glazes for each new project and am always experimenting, searching new paths towards the unforeseen destination.
In Japan we were always taught that the best ceramics were unique works of art, crafted carefully by hand and with the utmost attention to the nature of the medium.
I cherish that approach and create each work with that idea in mind. At the same time, I knew that moving to New York would allow me to find freedom of expression.
Ultimately, my work is a realization of my total experience: high fashion and humble material, cultures of the past, and the living pulse of today.
My ultimate goal is always elegance, the sense that something couldn’t be any other way, this feeling comes from everywhere, and from nowhere, it’s timelessness and timeliness, forever, and today! It comes from balancing the elements: fire, earth, water, and air from music. It requires sophistication with passion, a personal vision with a sense of the universality of humanity."