Kiyomi Iwata draws strength from undermining expectations. A creative force raised in an era in which Japanese women were encouraged to stick to social norms, Iwata followed her own path. She has created a portfolio of pieces that not only play with the boundaries between art and craft, but also reflect her meticulous attention to detail and a life balanced between two cultures. Like many in Japan, Iwata’s family prized scholarship over creativity. “In Japan, it’s acceptable to pursue art if you come from a family with a history of artists, ” she explains. “I did not.” What she did possess was endless curiosity and a fierce urge to create. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Three Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 50 Close Knit Close Knit: Meet the weavers keeping traditional Egyptian tapestrymaking alive. Arts & Culture Issue 50 New Roots The Palestinian art and agriculture collective sowing seeds of community. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Karin Mamma Andersson Inside the moody, mysterious world of Sweden’s preeminent painter. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Mass Destruction “Artists are often left baffled by the fact that they have millions of monthly streams, yet only a couple of thousand followers on social media.” Arts & Culture Issue 49 On the Cheap The greatness of cultural worsts. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Checked Out Why is hotel art so boring?