Local artist gives Japanese technique a contemporary spin

  • <b>FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS | </b>By Katya Yefimova Herald writer
  • Tuesday, July 17, 2012 6:57pm

LYNNWOOD — Naoko Morisawa draws inspiration from nature.

She sees a kind of mystery in the shapes and texture of tree branches, mushrooms and jellyfish.

The Lynnwood artist uses hundreds of small pieces of oil-dyed wood chips to create her artwork.

The wood mosaic technique is considered traditional in Japan, where Morisawa is from, but is new in the United States, she said.

Morisawa and her husband, Ken, moved here seven years ago because of Ken’s job.

After studying design at a university in Tokyo, Morisawa worked in product package design and taught painting at an arts center. That’s where she learned the wood mosaic technique.

“The variety of wood grain is very beautiful and the pattern is never the same,” she said about her work. “The combinations of natural grains create interesting shadows and impressions.”

Morisawa said she wants to incorporate traditional Japanese themes in her contemporary work.

She tries to use all natural materials.

Making wood mosaic is challenging and time-consuming, Morisawa said. When seen from a distance, her works look like paintings. The details of the work slowly emerge as the viewer comes closer.

“I want to make that kind of impact,” she said.

Morisawa has been creating art for more than 15 years. A full-time artist now, she used to work in a sushi shop.

“Making sushi is art, I think,” she said.

Though she speaks enough English to get by in daily life, she still struggles to find the right words to talk about her art. She’s continuing to learn English at Edmonds Community College.

Last week, she set up some pieces at Edmonds Frame Design &Atelier in preparation for the Third Thursday Art Walk.

Her work has been displayed in various galleries throughout the state and elsewhere in the country, including the Seattle Art Museum Gallery, where Northwest artists show their works.

She dreams about opening her own gallery someday.

See more

See Naoko Morisawa’s work: Visit http://naokomorisawa.artspan.com or stop by Edmonds Frame Design &Atelier, 514 Fifth Ave. S. The art walk is from 5 to 8 p.m. July 19.