Maki Aizawa is an artist and producer passionate about Japan, her native land. From her earliest years, she has been immersed in the traditions of Japanese arts and culture at her parents’ kimono-making school. She cherishes the memories of a childhood with hundreds of “aunties” – the students who were living with them during their five-year apprenticeships to become licensed.
The devastation of the earthquake and tsunami in 2011 to Maki’s home district of Sendai, was a pivotal moment for her. Ever since, she has been committed to fostering collaborations and curating projects, revitalizing the artistic traditions mainly with Japanese master artists. With her admiration and appreciation of Japanese history, traditions, and skills, Maki approaches each art form as one to be revitalized and preserved.
In 2021, Maki was inspired to create her own brand “Kamiko.” As founder and designer, she brought together a Women’s Collective of licensed kimono makers in the Tohoku region of Japan, who were trained by her mother, Tsuyo Onodera. Her vision is to put a contemporary spin on kimono traditions, creating designs that can be incorporated into everyday use. Tsuyo’s mastery of traditional techniques and Maki’s creativity combine to create contemporary garments that preserve the traditions of kimono-making.
Based in Sonoma, California and in a historic village, Asuka, Japan, Maki travels extensively for her programs and exhibitions worldwide. In addition to her non-profit organization, amu, Maki is currently focused on creating a kimono making book with renowned German book artist, Veronika Schäpers, and developing an artist residency project in Asuka, Japan.