Unfolding Beauty – The Art of Kuniko Maeda
Meet Kuniko Maeda, a London-based Japanese artist whose explorations in paper artistry are a tribute to sustainable design and cultural heritage. With a deep respect for the inherent beauty of materials, Kuniko elegantly fuses traditional Japanese craft techniques with digital technology to create unique pieces of wearable art, 3D sculptures, and striking installations. Central to her artistic expression is paper, a material she infuses with new life through her creative process.
Kuniko’s journey into the world of craft began in Kyoto, where she studied traditional Japanese woodcarving. This foundation in the artistry and precision of Japanese craftsmanship continues to guide her work today, now enhanced with the innovative possibilities of modern technology. A notable example of this fusion is her utilisation of Kakishibu, a durable and waterproof paper treated with a traditional Japanese paint derived from persimmons. Through a process involving laser cutting and minimising production waste, she transforms this delicate material into sturdy 3D structures.
Drawing inspiration from everyday landscapes and natural materials, Kuniko’s work is a poetic reflection on the transient yet enduring nature of our surroundings. Her creations, whether a piece of jewellery or an installation, are not just aesthetically pleasing but also echo a philosophy deeply rooted in her cultural heritage. As she upcycles waste into art, each piece tells a story of transformation, of giving new life and value to what is often overlooked. In this way, Kuniko’s work serves as a reminder of the delicate balance between innovation and tradition, the ephemeral and the enduring.