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.”