Kuniko Maeda

Portrait of Made in Arts London Artist Kuniko MaedaKuniko Maeda

MA Textile Design, Chelsea College of Arts 2016

Kuniko’s main interest within her practice is the life within materials. She often works with materials such as plastic, paper and fabric. She chooses to work with these materials as they a familiar in our daily lives, but are resources that people tend to throw away as they are inexpensive and recyclable.

The idea behind Kuniko’s work is to manifest physical impulses into visible forms. She became fascinated in creating a visible form from the invisible concepts of motion and emotion, and began to research these concepts through dance and everyday movements. She found that the motion in dance can be recorded through drawing and the emotion can be read from colours and textures.

Kuniko’s work also reflects on how as a society we have a feeling of positivity and security around recycling paper without considering the material value that paper offers, which can sometimes cause a more rapid consumption of the material than needed. Kuniko feels that paper can be more valuable than we imagine depending on how we communicate with it.

In her project ‘Landscape of Paper’, Kuniko used paper carrier bags as her main resource. Paper bags come in various types of quality and sizes, Kuniko noticed that we barely register the value and beauty of paper in these objects, but take it for granted the paper bag is cheap and disposable. Especially lower quality paper, such as thin brown paper bags, which are regularly immediately thrown away after use.

Kuniko started to question how to revive the value of paper waste and began to convert disposable and low quality paper into long-lasting, high quality items. She investigated potential approaches to long lasting paper by exploring Japanese traditional craft techniques and integrating these traditions with modern technology. One particular technique was Kakishibu on paper. Kakishibu is a tannin extract from un-ripened, inedible persimmon fruits and reacts as a coating on the surface, creating antiseptic activity, water resistance and the durability.

Kuniko’s paper structures are inspired by birds’ wings as the lightness, flexibility and delicacy of paper replicates the fluidity and elegant movement of birds.

Through her work Kuniko hopes that her audience develop an emotional attachment to her pieces and thus change their preconceptions on disposable paper objects and consider how a throw away item can become a beautiful treasured artefact. She hopes that the pieces encourage people to reconsider their thoughts on possession, value and consumption.


"I want to communicate to the audience, how the beauty of everyday materials and waste can be more valuable. Hopefully my work will provide people an opportunity to review our consumption in everyday life and reconsider the value of materials."



Browse Kuniko's Work