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Disposable YET Upcycled material using traditional and modern technology.

When it comes to recyclable materials, people usually don't question their behavior of throwing things away. Consumers have a positive perception of "recycling" but lack consideration of the material's value, overlooking the root cause of the world's environmental crisis. Wasted paper interested me because paper is a large part of daily life and is overconsumed. I focused on upcycling paper to make it last longer, rather than recycling it. I also came across traditional Japanese KAKISHIBU paint made from persimmons. This natural coating makes paper waterproof, repels insects, has a shiny finish and is durable. I applied Kakishibu to wrinkled used paper, creating an effect similar to the traditional use on Japanese WASHI paper. Moreover, flattening the wrinkled paper revealed attractive patterns, despite wrinkles generally being considered a defect. Combining this traditional application with digital technology and laser cutting, I created a stronger 3D structure from delicate paper by making slits to minimize waste. By harmonizing opposites, I turned waste into a precious material. Applying traditional craft technique and merging digital technology, I discovered a new application for paper.


Kuniko Maeda studied traditional wood carving in Kyoto. Her main interests are material lifecycles and sustainability. BA and MA in textile design at Chelsea College of Arts, continued studies in material lifecycles through textile design.