Recycled Books Given a New Life As Intricate Nature-Inspired Paper Sculptures

Butterfly Altered Book Sculpture

A love of nature can bring a wealth of joy and a newfound appreciation for the wonder and beauty in life. That statement rings true for British artist Kate Kato of Kasasagi Design. Fueled by her curiosity and fascination with the natural world, Kato captures the infinite beauty of nature in her intricate recycled paper sculptures. Using a variety of materials—including books, paper, found objects, wire, and thread—she transforms unwanted and discarded items into meticulously crafted life-sized replicas of insects and plant life. And each piece forms part of her own ever-growing collection.

“I do keep track of the different species I've sculpted, and I also keep templates and technical drawings of the things I've made,” Kato tells My Modern Met. “Being able to refer back to dimensions and shapes I've created before can be really useful when trying to work out how to build a new species. I have a set of collector type drawers that I keep my collection in, and they are starting to get quite full now. But I love going through them every now and again, as they are a reminder of the things I've discovered and quite often inspire me to research new species to add to the collection.”

Trained in graphic design with an emphasis on bookmaking and print, Kato has made use of her skills in bookbinding and working with paper to carve out her own artistic niche. From altered books to paper insect sculptures, her handmade creations might fool the casual onlooker with their delicate life-like quality and visual accuracy. Honey bees and butterflies are born from the pages of battered volumes, while fungi and wildflowers bloom from other unsuspecting covers. And as her own relationship with nature has evolved, so has her artistic practice.

“To begin with it was mostly just about making plants and insects from paper,” Kato tells My Modern Met. “I went for things I already knew about and considered each sculpture as an individual within a collection. As my work has evolved it has stopped being just about the individual species and become more about the connections between them and the connections we have with those particular species.”

Scroll down to see images of Kate Kato’s gorgeous paper creations. For more of her incredible work, visit the artist’s website or follow her on Instagram.

British artist Kate Kato of Kasasagi Design crafts gorgeous altered books and intricate recycled paper sculptures.

Honey Bee Altered Book SculptureMushrooms and Fungi Altered Book SculptureWildflowers Altered Book SculptureSea Creatures Altered Book Sculpture

Her designs capture the infinite beauty of nature and just might fool the casual onlooker with their life-like quality.

Paper ButterfliesKate Kato Recycled Paper SculpturesPaper InsectsKate Kato Recycled Paper SculpturesKate Kato Recycled Paper Sculptures

From fungi to insects and feathers, each recycled paper sculpture forms a part of her ever-growing collection.

Paper Insects and Plant LifePaper Insects and Plant LifeKate Kato Recycled Paper SculpturesKate Kato Recycled Paper SculpturesPaper Bird's Nest

Watch this video to learn more about her process.

Kate Kato: WebsiteInstagram | Facebook 

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Kate Kato.

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Arnesia Young

Arnesia Young is a contributing writer for My Modern Met and an aspiring art historian. She holds a BA in Art History and Curatorial Studies with a minor in Design from Brigham Young University. With a love and passion for the arts, culture, and all things creative, she finds herself intrigued by the creative process and is constantly seeking new ways to explore and understand it.
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