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~Past Event ~
2011 Information

A Pioneer Leather Artist
Ms. Keiko Murakami

Leather Arts by Murakami-san
"Leather Arts by Murakami-san"

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A pioneer leather artist, Keiko Murakami from Chiba, Japan was one of the featured artists in the 2011 Aki Matsuri. She exhibited many of her works and explained about the "Wonderful World of Leather". This was her first exhibition in the USA, and she was very excited to meet many matsuri visitors during the two day event.

Murakami-san was born in Kitakyushu, Japan. She became acquainted with leather at a tanning factory in Wakayama, Japan in 1973. Fascinated with its unique characteristics (flexible yet strong), she began crafting leather. Initially she enjoyed making various practical goods such as handbags; then she began to create larger and more abstract design pieces reflecting her long time study of designs. She obtained two patents on "a processing method of the hides' material" (2001 in USA and 2006 in Japan). She has entered many art competitions and won many prizes such as the Japan Fine Art Exhibition (14 times) and the Japan Contemporary Arts and Crafts Exhibition. In addition to participating in numerous group exhibitions, she held 19 solo exhibitions in Japan and overseas. She has been very active introducing her works through exhibitions and conducting workshops in Korea, Mongolia, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania.

Please check her website:

Quotation from "The Wonderful World of Leather" by Keiko Murakami
Artist Statement

Leather Arts by Murakami-san

Mrs. Keiko Murakami
(Mrs. Keiko Murakami at 2011 Aki Matsuri)
"It has been 35 years since I first became acquainted with leather at a tanning factory in Wakayama, Japan. Initially I enjoyed making various practical goods such as handbags. I eventually began to experiment by drawing motifs of scenery and living things on leather, after studying designs for many years. I started to create larger works of abstract design for participation in different art competitions.

By applying water, leather is a rather easy material to manipulate, freely creating uneven shapes on the surface by making wrinkles along the fiber. Leather has the characteristic of plasticity that adds more charm to leather as a material. Utilizing this particular characteristic, if the same design is expressed in two forms, the impression becomes quite different and is dependent on the angle of light. Leather also absorbs moisture from the air when the humidity is high, and releases moisture when the humidity is low. Leather is a very healthy material that was often used as wallpaper in European royal palaces in the past.

My sincere wish is to revive this lost life of leather through my art work. I would like to express my gratitude to all who offered precious advice and support throughout my journey. I hope to challenge myself as I continue to explore the magical world of leather."

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Recommendation by Kimihiro Kurata
(Member of the International Association of Critics)
Mrs. Keiko Murakami is a pioneer in a new wave of leather art. In Japan, leather has, traditionally, been made into small, practical items. There are, however, a group of artists who are aware of the "soft and strong" characteristics of leather and employ it as a new material for Arts and Crafts.

Mrs. Murakami is an integral part of this new movement. She has experimented with form, texture, color, and gold plate, changing the image of leather craft completely and elevating it to an art form.

Dissatisfied with her work, Mrs. Murakami experimented by applying different techniques to create something more interesting, taking inspiration from ancient Chinese characters. Her work has become three-dimensional, using texture to play with light, creating depth with color, and evoking richness through the application of gold leaf. The unique and outstanding beauty of her work has been critically acclaimed at many of her exhibitions.

( Ms. Keiko Murakami with Mr. Kimihiro Kurata)
Mrs. Murakami is a very enthusiastic leather learner, whether visiting China to study both traditional and obscure Chinese characters or staying in Korea for extended periods to learn new techniques of working with mother of pearl. She continues to evolve as she applies these techniques to her repertoire of skills.

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Photo Gallery





"Sunshine Through Leaves"


(All photos courtesy of Keiko Murakami)

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