Illuminated Cut Paper Landscapes Encapsulate Enchanting Worlds in Glass Vessels

Cut Paper Art by Ayumi Shibata

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.

Japanese artist Ayumi Shibata creates delicate vistas in glass vessels.

Cut Paper Art by Ayumi ShibataCut Paper Sculpture by Ayumi Shibata

Featuring cut paper architecture and foliage, the illuminated pitchers cast an enchanting glow that transports us to another world.

Cut Paper Sculpture by Ayumi ShibataCut Paper Sculpture by Ayumi Shibata

All of the elements are cut from white paper, so we can see every tiny shape, from tree branches to embellishment on the buildings.

Cut Paper Sculpture by Ayumi Shibata

And by using slightly translucent paper, each layer of the artwork is visible and adds depth to the pieces.

Cut Paper Sculpture by Ayumi Shibata

Ayumi Shibata: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Ayumi Shibata.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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