Thunderous cracks echoed through the air as the earth convulsed beneath Suzanne Ross’ feet, with glass objects shattering as they fell to the ground and wooden beams splintering.

The accomplished lacquerware artist was in her studio in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on New Year’s Day, when a 7.6 magnitude earthquake opened up the ground, threatening to swallow her whole.

The 61-year-old wrapped her arms around a support pillar, the only thing preventing her fall as she was tossed around like a rag doll.