Japanese artist and designer Mariko Kusumoto shapes textile sculptures of coral and sea creatures from soft fibers like polyester, nylon, and cotton. Kusumoto uses a proprietary heat-setting technique to mold the ubiquitous materials into floating bed of underwater flowers or a coral reef, and even tiny schools of fish that are presented in elegant and fanciful contexts. Embedded with tiny ripples or airy pockets, the standalone sculptures and wearables are translucent renditions of lifeforms, and their delicate compositions correspond with the fragility of the subject matter.

Kusumoto has been working with fabric for the last eight years. She tends to cluster the individual pieces into larger works, creating sprawling reefs and diverse ecosystems brimming with color and texture. The pieces seem to float weightlessly as if underwater, while their colors imply a lifelike luminescence.

Kusumoto will hold a solo exhibition next November at Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida, and until then, you can find more of her ethereal textile sculptures on Instagram.

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