Born in a small rural town of 8,000 in Nagano, Japan, Maho Shaw started working with wood when she was young at her father's wood shop. Her grandfather started a carpentry business in his youth, and her dad eventually took over the family business to keep the custom alive. Her father then passed his knowledge on to his three daughters who all worked in his shop building houses for their small town, Kisofukushima. Maho went to a forestry and woodworking high school and after graduating, earned her architecture license while working at the family business. Eventually, Maho decided that she wanted to follow her own path and moved to Hawaii. In Hawaii, she has explored different avenues of woodworking, building houses, furniture, and eventually found her true passion in the art of inlay.