If, like me, you think being bilingual is impressive, meeting a person who is fluent in five languages is frankly awe-inspiring. Picture frame designer, interior stylist, published author, photographer, exhibited artist, multi-linguist: Marta Wawrzyniak-Ijichi wears many hats, from all over the world.
Best known locally for her work at ACME Framing on Crown Street, Marta’s career in design began first as a teenager growing up in Krakow. Her love of Japanese art and culture was fostered by an underground club of fellow Asian art enthusiasts.
She was encouraged to study art and did so in Germany before moving to Japan, where she spent 16 years living, working and exhibiting in and around Tokyo.
“The patterns from the Edo Period (1603-1868) for me look very modern, like contemporary twenty-first century design. I have always been really drawn to that.”
“What I love about Japanese craft and design is the use of colour and pattern – it’s very detailed on one hand yet very bold. It reminds me a lot of Scandinavian design,”Marta Wawrzyniak-Ijichi
Marta has published two books: one is a beautifully crafted guidebook for Polish products and interior design written in Japanese (2011). Marta published as author, photographer and designer. The other book Marta art-directed, designed and translated into English – a Kyoto food and art book, in collaboration with Kyoto-based Japanese pop art and mural artist Ki-Yan (2015).
Recently Marta gave local art and design appreciators the chance to learn about the fascinating world of traditional Japanese craftsmanship and framing. A free event was hosted by ACME, featuring a talk by Marta about traditional Japanese framing techniques and a live demonstration of traditional mulberry paper mounting by artist and ACME Framing staff member Roy Lee.
Artworks by Ki-Yan (Hideki Kimura) were exhibited, with some works framed in Japan as well as work framed by Acme Framing exclusively for the event. The event was a rare opportunity to learn about the world of traditional Japanese art and framing.
This article originally appeared in the Winter 2019 edition of Urban Village