Each delicate petal unfurls gently with a slight flourish at the end, catching the light with its pretty upturned tip. This intricate replication of the cherry blossom is one of the wearable pieces of art created by Japanese artist Sakae.
Her venture into the art of handmade kanzashi (hair accessories Japanese women pair with their kimonos) came quite by accident. The ex-dietician chanced upon a woman wearing a kimono and felt that the ensemble would have looked better with a blue butterfly hairpin. After searching in vain for something similar, Sakae decided to make the hairpieces herself.
The flower and butterfly kanzashi are made using liquid synthetic resin and supported by brass wires. Each takes the artist between three and 30 days to fashion. Her first tentative foray into commercially selling her work on Yahoo! Auctions brought her ¥14,000 apiece. But these days, eager customers wait in anticipation for the exquisite pieces, often willing to fork out as much as ¥500,000 to own a Sakae original.
Sakae’s delicate creations must be purchased in Japan as the artist deems the hairpins too fragile for overseas shipping.