World wide Tsumami-zaiku Artist Vol.7 Ms. Isla Wong

The famous Tsumami-zaiku artists will talk about their thoughts about Tsumami-zaiku.


2006 – Found out about Tsumami-Zaiku while learning about kimono on internet forum. 
2008 – Started selling my creations at conventions.
2009 – Opened my Etsy store “Kitty Kanzashi” selling tsumami zaiku accessories.
2012 – Appeared on TV show called “Paul Martin’s Handmade Revolution” showcasing a junior maiko sakura kanzashi set.  Did not win the episode but I had fun talking about tsumami-zaiku on BBC2.
2014 – 2018 – Took a break from selling to concentrate on developing personal style and technique.
2018 – Reopened Etsy store specializing in mini tsumami-zaiku creations.

Etsy shop –

Instagram – @kittykanzashi

Q1. How did you start working on Tsumami-zaiku? (Or did you get involved?)

Like a lot of people, it all started with kimono and discovering tsumami-zaiku from maiko photos.  As soon as I discovered how they were made, it was an obsession as I loved origami as a child and this was just perfect in my mind. Learning the basic folds was easy enough but the challenge was obtaining the materials needed which in the beginning was impossible.  However, as the world became more connected via the internet this has made life a lot easier.

Q2. What are your commitments to your work and what do you care about?

I love to make creations that can be worn or displayed everyday.  For me it is such a shame to keep these beautiful flowers hidden away for special occasions.  This means I experiment with non-traditional materials like cotton, felt or glitter fabric to see what can be made.

However, all this in underpinned with understanding and practicing the traditional method with habutae silk and rice glue. Thus, my biggest dream would be to become a certified tsumami zaiku teacher although this will be a challenge as I have not learnt Japanese yet.

Q3. What is the attractiveness of Tsumami-zaiku for you?

That I am taking a piece of fabric that is 2-dimenional and transforming it into a 3-dimension object. 
Plus, it is a versatile technique which can be used to decorate so many things.  From creating hair accessories to floral displays.

Q4. What do you think about the future possibilities of Tsumami-zaiku?

I feel tsumami-zaiku can be applied to all things decorative so I would love to see this applied in home interiors or even culinary (such as cake decorating). Plus, seeing this wonderful artform be accessible across the world especially in the West through courses and books available in different languages would be amazing.

Q5. What do you want to make in the future?

Like many people I have been working from home and one thing that I have found out is that I miss looking at pretty things.  As such, I have been making miniature flower displays on my desk.

It started with kusudama but I wanted something that I could change with my mood so I began making miniature flowers and foliage which I would play around with when I need something fun to look at.

Q6. How do you think you can use/arrange or deploy Tsumami-zaiku in your country?

There are so many avenues, I would love to see a permanent exhibition in UK showcasing tsumami-zaiku creations to serve as a reference point for people. 

Then promoting this alongside the “slow fashion movement”.  The one thing I admire is the care and attention all tsumami-zaiku artists put into their work and how we all strive to make pieces that last the ages so we should take the time to appreciate and wear them.

Finally, all too often people do not realise how much time and effort it takes to fold the individual petals.  Therefore, I would love to see this being taught and show they are made which is my main reason why I would love to become a certified instructor in UK.

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