Step into the world of artistic fusion as we sit down with Kyoko Kimura Morgan, a Japanese artist known for her origami, book binding and sumi-e art. Kyoko joins forces with poet Malika Ndlovu for an exciting origami workshop and the book launch of “Origamipoetry.” In this interview, we explore Kyoko’s creative journey, her passion for origami, and the upcoming book launch. Join us for a glimpse into the world where paper, poetry, and imagination intertwine.

Q1. As an origami and sumi-e artist, how did you and Malika come together to collaborate in creating a book of your art and her poetry “Origamipoetry”? What challenges and joys did you encounter during this process?

A1. We have been friends over 2 decades and I always admired her ability to weave words. Around 2010, I composed a short haiku-like poem on the image of me with origami cranes and full moon, “On a full-moon night, origami birds took flight”. She returned with her stanza and then we exchanged a few more. We then dreamt that one day we will make origami poetry books.
I am not someone inclined to write poems and so this process was a bit challenging to express my inner world with words. It became easier when I focussed on each origami model and in a way let the origami objects speak to me.

Q2. What do you believe is the significance of combining origami with poetry in this collaborative project? How do you think your origami adds depth to the emotional narratives of the poems?

A2. Am not a very analytical person, lol, and so I feel Malika can speak more on this… but as Malika says origami is a wordless poetry. And I suppose because certain origami models can evoke emotions associated with your memories especially in childhood. The image can represent a feeling of nostalgia, innocence, playfulness, and yearning for peace. Just saying origami boat can be enough to represent those emotions and cut out a few paragraphs for example.

Q3. We’re looking forward to your upcoming origami workshop at our Deckle Edge Salt River store! Could you briefly outline what participants can anticipate learning and creating during the workshop on September 30th?

A3. The participants will learn how to fold the 4 models, Bird, Lotus, Boat and Heart, which are the titles of this series of ORIGAMIPOETRY books. They are basic to intermediate levels.
I will also share a brief history of origami and my own origami activity in South Africa.
I will also learn a few tips improve their results.

Q4. “Origamipoetry” is a unique fusion of art forms. Could you share your thoughts on how this project might inspire readers and artists?

A4. Both poetry and origami are ancient forms of art. And they are both very accessible and universal forms of art. They might have been two separate art forms but by combining them we open a new dimension. I hope that many readers will be inspired to try writing their own poems inspired by origami .. and also be inspired to try origami. I am sure they will be inspired by many metaphors that arise from folding a piece of paper.
And I hope this collaboration will inspire many artists in different fields to collaborate and create a new path.

Q5. You have Sumi-e art on the cover of the “Origamipoetry” book, how do you think Sumi-e art will make the book and its poems even better?

A5. Sumi-e is also a simple form of art, though mastery can take a life time. I have no formal training except for learning the basic caligraphy at primary school in Japan. They are all original and so only one in the world. So I hope that it gives a feeling that the book is special for each person.

Q6. What exactly is sumi-e art and your background in its use?

A6. it is a painting with Sumi-ink and brush. I love its simplicity as you don’t need different colours.

Q7. For those unfamiliar with Sumi art, could you describe the process of creating a Sumi art piece from start to finish?

A7. You will need a Sumi ink, soft brush, water and paper. Think about an object/objects to paint. Composition requires a bit of experience to feel the balance of object and empty space. This can be learnt from looking at Ikebana, Bon-sai art, zen garden, etc.

Q8. Looking ahead to the book launch and origami workshop, what message would you like to convey to individuals who are interested in attending these events and engaging with your collaborative work?

A8. I am looking forward to celebrating the birth of our long-held dream at Deckle Edge which is one of my favourite shops in Cape Town as it inspired a lot of different ways to be creative. We do have moments of darkness in our lives and our future is unpredictable. So working together in a creative process is something that can uplift our spirits.

Follow Kyoko on Instagram @kyoko_kimura_morgan

To end off I will leave you with this apt quote. “Paper folding is more than an art. It’s a metaphor for life’s journey, where every crease counts, and even the smallest folds can lead to grand transformations.” – Michael LaFosse

The Origamipoetry Book Launch at The Deckle Edge Art Store in Salt River Cape Town

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