After attending Nihon Women's University, Katsumata Chieko received a grant from the French government to study industrial design in Paris; but after a chance meeting with the well-known American potter Fance Franc (1931-2008) she was inspired to pursue a career in ceramics. Upon returning to Kyoto, she began to focus on the application of color on her contemporary clay forms under the mentorship of Yanagihara Mutsuo (b. 1930). Instead of painting directly on her biomorphic, sculptural vessels, she covers the form with a thin piece of cloth through which she repeatedly applies color, leaving no trace of her brushwork. After repeated firings, followed by new applications of color, the surfaces take on a penetrating vivid color and soft textural appearance. She has exhibited extensively both in and outside of Japan, including France, Holland and the U.S.