Japanese artist Ayumi Shibata creates delicate vistas in glass vessels. Featuring cut paper architecture and foliage, the illuminated pitchers cast an enchanting glow that transports us to another world. All of the elements are cut from white paper, so we can see every tiny shape, from tree branches to embellishment on the buildings. And by using slightly translucent paper, each layer of the artwork is visible and adds depth to the pieces.
Inspired by nature, Shibata refers to her work as kami. “Kami is the Japanese word meaning ‘god,’ ‘divinity,’ or ‘spirit,’” she writes, “but it also means ‘paper.’ Kami reside within nature. They dwell in the sky, in the ground, in the wind as well as in various objects such as old trees, big rocks, and man-made creations.”
According to Shibata, kami also resides in paper. “In the religion of Shinto, white paper is considered as a sacred material,” she explains. “‘Ya-o-yorozu no kami’ is the term we use in the Japanese language to speak of the infinite gods and spirits who live together all around in the world and the universe.”
Using kami as a cultural framework, Shibata employs traditional Japanese paper cutting techniques to showcase humankind’s relationship with the environment and open a dialogue about the care we give to this world.