Kirie: the art of paper cutting

06 Feb 2019 in So Design

It’s amazing what can be done with a piece of paper and a precise craft knife!

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The Japanese art of Kirie (“cut-out picture”) is thought to date back well over 1000 years ago, not long after the arrival of washi paper, and was initially used in religious ceremonies. Today, contemporary artists have taken the tradition to new heights, crafting paper into a mind-boggling array of forms, shapes and sculptures.

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The definition of Kirie is straight-forward enough: it consists of cutting designs by hand from a single sheet of white paper using a craft knife. The paper is then contrasted against a black background to make it visible.

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Sounds simple, right? But, in the hands of artists like Nahoko Kojima or Masayo Fukuda, Kirie is an incredibly intricate process that demands dexterity, skill and a very cool hand.

And the results are mesmerizing.

Nahoko-Kojima-cutting-her-Alice-Collection-(2010)

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Fukuda’s extraordinary Octopus (2018) was cut from a single sheet of A2 paper and features tentacles and suction cups with details so fine they look like delicate lacework.

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Kojima is best-known for her enormous Kirie sculptures. In October 2018, she unveiled her biggest work yet, a life-size representation of a 32-metre blue whale.

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Entitled Shiro, it took nearly a year to complete, using special blades that had to be changed every 2 to 3 minutes to keep them sharp enough!

Stay at Hoshino Resorts KAI Alps and, on top of the views of the Japanese Alps from your window, you’ll find the walls of your room adorned with Kirie creations by local artist Kyoko Yanagisawa.

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Her artworks evoke memories of growing up in a region dominated by its majestic mountainscapes.

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It could be just the inspiration you need to craft your own Kirie creation!


Photo credits:

http://www.nahokokojima.com/

https://mymodernmet.com/kirie-paper-cutting-art-octopus-masayo-fukuda/

Sesc em São Paulo / CC BY-NC-ND

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