Super Sunday Artist Spotlight - Kinga

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Today's featured artist is the amazingly talented kanzashi artist Kinga from Warsaw, Poland. Although she is self-taught in the technique, her pieces are traditionally authentic and incredibly impressive.
Kinga also goes by Arleen on DeviantArt and Oiran on Etsy.

Grey's Elegance by Arleen
What is your specialty and medium of choice?
I make kanzashi, which are traditional Japanese hair ornaments. They are made of small squares of silk and nowadays are seen mostly on maiko (apprentice geisha) or women wearing kimono.

How would you describe your style?
Iki, which is the Japanese word for chic. Iki is an expression of simplicity, sophistication, spontaneity, and originality. Big words, I know, but I always try to make my works simple, yet classy. Silk textiles, simplicity of form, carefully chosen colors and even when I choose some wild, rainbow-colored pattern I add some black to moderate it and give it an elegant touch.

How did you get started with this craft? Was it difficult to learn?
I was looking for some information about kimos, and naturally, I stumbled on photos of maiko who wore those gorgeous bouquets. I started researching and found an old video which showed what they really are and how to make them. I so just tried and got hooked. The craft itself isn't difficult to learn, anyone can do it, but it takes practice and patience to look really good. A lot depends on materials too.

Tell me a little about your creative process. What inspires you?
Traditional crafts are the best inspiration for me. I look at photos of maiko and their kimonos. Also textiles - I just try to be reasonable and follow my instinct - sometimes I just know something will work, and something will not!

Approximately how long does it take to finish a new piece?
Anything between 2 hours and a week, depending on what I'm making: a pair of earrings or a full maiko hairpin.

September Songs by Arleen
What is your favorite piece so far? Can you tell me a little about why it is special to you?
I think I have a few of my favorites, but if I had to choose one I'd say this one. (pictured on right)

Now, I'd add another string of petals, but I still think that the vibrant color with a touch of silver work well on this. Plus, I've painted every single piece of silk by hand, and it was the first I used mizuhiki cords (Japanese paper cords).

Do you have any advice or tips for fellow crafters?
Work hard on your own style - you'll be recognizable among other artists which means a lot these days. Also - which may seem kind of weird - don't change the art form too often. Getting really good takes time, and you can't expect results changing what you do every month or so.


Thank you so very much, Kinga! It was lovely getting more acquainted with such a beautiful craft and wonderful artist! Be sure to check her out on ETSY and DEVIANTART!


Would you like to be featured? Send me an e-mail at

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