Corporate Collections

Karen was a regular visitor to Japan during her career as an international flight attendant. She took advantage of being able to study traditional Japanese arts with Yuriko Kodama. At the time Kodama-sensei was 79 years old, and instructed Karen in her specialization of creating paper dolls (washi ningo). Kodama-sensei had Karen concentrate on the kimono. Perfection was the goal, and if the slightest error was made on the kimono, Kodama-sensei would take that particular section apart. It took Karen five years to master the art of the paper kimono. She feels very privileged to have studied under a traditional Japanese artison and proud to pass on a dying art.

These exquisite and unique kimonos are made using Kozo (paper Mulberry) featuring popular designs from the Edo period (1600-1868). Each kimono presents the appearance of fabric but is actually beautifully patterned paper.

Master craft artisians in Japan use both traditional and modern techniques to make the high quality papers. Karen uses two types of Kozo. One is Chiyogami which is decorated with brightly colored, woodblock-printed patterns. The other is Yuzen which are patterns based on traditional silkscreen designs derived from the silks of the Japanese kimono.

Karen crafts these works of art by first making templates of varying sizes for each pattern piece of the kimono. Each kimono is made by laying eleven templates on the patterned paper. Karen then cuts, folds, glues, and layers the pattern paper with precision. Due to the delicacy of the patterned paper the same steps are repeated for the lining of the kimono. The kimono is made exactingly as an authentic cloth kimono.

Each work of art reflects the theme of Karen's collection which is to enrich the world with the unique influences of traditional Japanese paper art and to re-introduce the ancient art of the kimono.

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