Kojima’s Life-Sized Single-Sheet Polar Bear

Craft & Design
Kojima’s Life-Sized Single-Sheet Polar Bear

kojima _BYAKU_01

Japanese artist Nahoko Kojima has been fine-tuning her classic Japanese paper-cutting technique since 1987, when she was 6 years old, and it shows. She’s known for her large-scale, single-sheet creations, and her latest, titled Byaku (which means white), gracefully depicts a life-sized swimming polar bear. Cut from one sheet of roughly 10’x10′ washi paper, Byaku took Kojima seven months from concept to creation, and was her most challenging piece to date.

kojima byaku with artist3

Kojima writes, “I did lots of sketches and research about how they live and behave … thought very carefully about the paper to use for the piece and chose a white washi which has low kouzo. This makes the the paper go yellow after being in the sun for a long time. This was perfect because the polar bearʼs coat also goes through a similar change. … I want people to enjoy looking at this piece, thatʼs it.”
Kojima working on Byaku

Kojima is also known for taking traditionally flat-hung pieces and liberating them to float in gallery spaces by careful hanging.
kojima byaku install3

Here is the video showing Byaku‘s details and featuring insights from Kojima:

YouTube player

And here are an array of shots, full and detail, of Byaku, as well as Kojima’s other works, including Cloud Leopard:

See more of Kojima’s stunning works in this album and check out her Paper Cut Art community page. Kojima also runs workshops in London, sharing her skill and techniques.

kojima working


6 thoughts on “Kojima’s Life-Sized Single-Sheet Polar Bear

  1. Mossdale Makerspace says:

    Woah! That’s awesome!

  2. greg says:

    That is some incredible detail – and taking the art to a new level. Beautiful!

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at snowgoli@gmail.com or via @snowgoli.

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