Maiko Tsutsumi


We Are the Orchard and the Road Leading Past
with Maiko Tsutsumi

"In the traffic of our days
may we attend to each thing
so that patterns are revealed
amidst the offerings of chance

All things want to be heard,
so let us listen to what they say
in the end we will hear what we are
the orchard or the road leading past"

Rainer Maria Rilke, Collected French Poems

Maiko Tsutsumi is a Japanese artist based in London. She trained in woodwork and Japanese lacquer work in Kyoto before moving to London in 1996, to study furniture design at the Royal College of Art. She worked for the design unit Azumi in London, and later at Tomoko Azumi’s t.n.a. design studio until 2012. She completed her practice-based PhD, The Poetics of Everyday Objects in 2007, which was funded by Kingston University. 

Maiko was the course leader for MA Designer Maker at Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London, for twelve years until 2020. During this period, she curated several exhibitions - Thingness (2011&2013), Laundry Room (2012), The Department of Repair (2015), On the Way to Language (2018), as part of her research that investigates the nature of knowledge-in-practice.


In 2017, Maiko resumed her studio practice. She makes sculptures, working primarily with reclaimed and found wood, urushi lacquer and clay, employing age-old crafting techniques. Her objects reference archetypal forms as an expression of the underlying ordering principles and dynamics of patterns, that are found in ancient utilitarian and ceremonial objects and structures. She also practises kintsugi, which gives a new life to broken wares using Japanese lacquer techniques.