Naoko Morisawa’s handcrafted wood mosaics are featured in “Play with Material: Laboratory,” an exhibit on display through March 15 at Edmonds Community College’s art gallery.

Naoko Morisawa’s handcrafted wood mosaics are featured in “Play with Material: Laboratory,” an exhibit on display through March 15 at Edmonds Community College’s art gallery.

The smallest of details matter the most in EdCC exhibit

Naoko Morisawa’s mosaic artwork features thousands of tiny slices of wood chips and cardboard.

From a distance, Naoko Morisawa’s mosaic artwork looks like oil paintings, stained glass or maybe piece quilts.

But the details — and effort that went into them — are best examined up close.

Using thousands of very small slices of natural and oil-dyed wood chips and cardboard on stained wood panels, the award-winning Seattle artist created abstract patterns with vibrant and contrasting colors. Her work is on display through March 15 at Edmonds Community College’s art gallery.

The exhibit, “Play with Material: Laboratory,” features more than a dozen of Morisawa’s mosaics and garden hose sculptures. Her art has been exhibited at Northwind Arts Center in Port Townsend, Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle and the Dublin Biennial in Ireland.

Her work can also be found in public art projects in Edmonds, Lynnwood, Seattle, Shoreline and Kent.

Each of her works featured at EdCC took 45 to 50 days to finish. Crafting so many small pieces was slow, tough and painstaking work, she said. She often started over if a piece didn’t live up to her original idea.

How does she know when it’s complete?

“I feel relaxed,” Morisawa said in Japanese, which was then translated into English by her husband Ken.

Morisawa was born in Tokyo and studied design and ceramics at Tama Art University, one of the top art schools in Japan. She was a commercial designer for Godiva Chocolatier and English tea maker Twinings and taught art classes in Japan and the Canadian Embassy for more than 10 years before moving to Seattle in 2004.

She has won numerous awards for her mosaics, as well as for public art projects. Morisawa was named one of Seattle’s best local artists by CBS Seattle News in 2016.

Morisawa has crafted her wood and paper collages for about 25 years. The mosaics are inspired by how the life of a tree, the energy in each grain and patterns in the wood can change with each piece.

Her work is typically bright and playful, but oddly shaped creatures and objects such as mushrooms, jellyfish and waves also are recurring themes in her work.

For the past five years she also been making garden hose sculptures meant for the outdoors with green hoses. She likes to work with the medium because green colors “are soft to people’s eyes” outdoors. The exhibit at EdCC will be the first time her sculptures have been displayed indoors.

Morisawa said her favorite piece in the exhibit is a 60-by-80-inch garden hose sculpture called, “Love Is All You Need,” which is roughly shaped like a heart.

Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.

If you go

An exhibit of Seattle artist Naoko Morisawa’s mosaic collage paintings and garden hose sculptures will be displayed through March 15 at the Edmonds Community College art gallery on the third floor of Lynnwood Hall at 20000 68th Ave. W., Lynnwood. An artist reception is set for 3 to 5 p.m. Feb. 22 in the gallery.

The gallery is open 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. There’s no admission charge. More at

Learn more about Morisawa’s art at

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