Interview with Kazumi and Anne
"The gift between Tokyo and Berlin" vol.3

23. NOVEMBER 2017

Interview with Kazumi and Anne



Kazumi Takigawa is a Tokyo based bag designer who uses waxing on cotton to create works with strong presence. The last story explores her background and the life as a creative.

About her process

— Could you tell us why you decided to work with waxing and cotton?

Kazumi Takigawa (Kazumi) : I studied sculpture at university, and one of the university’s curriculum involved bronze casting, which includes making the model of the bronze with wax. My denim jeans got soaked in wax, and I thought it was a very interesting texture. That’s the first reason why I decided to work with the materials.

— So you received inspiration from a completely different field of work?

Kazumi : That’s right. When I saw the wax-soaked jeans, I wondered what I could apply this texture to. I believe shape and texture should match inevitably to create something truly interesting. So I came up with making a bag, something you can use ordinarily.

Kazumi TakigawaThis sack bag is the most basic style of her artworks.

— Do you dye unbleached fabrics by yourself?

Kazumi : Yes. The colour of the fabrics seems uninteresting when they’re already dyed, so I use coffee and tea as a process of vegetable dying. During the process of fabric dying, you can control the colour’s ‘fastness’, which is an indicator of how much it will oxidize or fade due to factors such as exposure to sunlight. Vegetable dying using coffee and tea has a very low fastness, but in order to seal the colours I use waxing on top.

— Have you experienced fabric dying before?

Kazumi : I didn’t have much experience, so I borrowed some books from the library to study vegetable dying by myself.

— Is there a reason behind your choice of fabrics?

Kazumi : I don’t want the material to appear obviously like a fabric. I choose something that doesn’t have a rough grain and appears rather flat. Usually I use canvas cloth; the texture doesn’t stand out much because of the thin yarns, and they’re moderately durable as well.

— Could that be why it somehow looks like paper?

Kazumi : It could be. I like paper, but by the time you’re attached to it paper bags are worn out. I’ve been collecting paper products for a long time. I like “Chabu-tou” (brown envelopes), but my favorite are grid papers. 1mm squared grid papers are the best.

Kazumi Takigawa

— How have you managed to sell and exhibit in so many shops and galleries?

Kazumi : At first, I was making tote bags in a shape of an envelope with handles. I was carrying the bag when I went to a select shop called RECTOHALL in Ebisu. They had an exhibition going on so I gave them my bag while I looked around, and when I got it back they asked me where I got the bag from. I told them I’ve made it and they asked me to bring some into the shop, and that was how I began to sell my works. I didn’t think this would become a business; some stores have found my work through my friends carrying the bag. I guess I’m so dependent on other people.

— I’m so impressed that opportunities come your way very naturally. Do you get offers for your exhibitions the same way?

Kazumi : I guess so. Recently, I exhibited at a store called Kamiya Bakery in Nagoya. Half of their store is a bakery, and the other half is an exhibition space, where I exhibited my work.

— Do you make special works just for the exhibitions?

Kazumi : Yes I do. Usually I make special works for exhibitions. At the exhibition in Kamiya Bakery, I made one work requested by the bakery and another work of my own idea. I took inspiration from the bakery’s products, such as their paper bags, products from Czech Republic and other interesting items. This one was originally an envelope from Czech and I customized it; it has a netting inside for additional strength.

Kazumi TakigawaThe bag which she got inspired by the envelope from Czech has to net inside for additional strength.

— That’s wonderful! I think your work has a nice association with plants and food.

Kazumi : I think so too. I believe the colour of the material matches nicely with the tone of green. That’s why I think it looks nice with Anne’s work. Some people use this smaller bag as a planter covers. I don’t want to restrict the use of my bags. After my work leaves my hands, I want people to come up with their own way to use them.

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