Artist Yuki Kawae Spreads Relaxation with Videos from His Tabletop Zen Garden

published Dec 31, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

Many of us don’t have the space for an outdoor garden. But artist Yuki Kawae shows that it’s possible to scale down and make a mini garden that still provides moments of daily joy and peace.

Kawae’s version is a tabletop zen-inspired sand and rock garden, which he rakes and rearranges often, sharing the relaxing process videos on Instagram as he goes.

In an interview with Hypebeast, he said that he dreamt of having a “wabi-sabi inspired zen garden,” but because he lives in the Bay Area without a garden space, he decided to start with a tabletop version. 

The garden gave Kawae a break from stress and overthinking. “I immediately found that focusing on this lets me be clear minded because if I was over thinking anything, I would mess up,” he said. “Even though it is ok to mess up since it’s just sand, that notion of this easy going approach and at the same time great amount of focus was really good for me.”

His videos began to gain popularity early in the pandemic, presumably as people sought comfort and relaxation.

Quarantining at home has enhanced his approach to his art. “I know this is odd,” he said, “but I enjoy the limitation, it makes the product more focused and defined.”

A woodworker, Kawae created the garden box and rakes (you can find recreations of several of his rake styles for sale on Project Rotate for $19 each). He also paints the garden’s backdrops. He says he hopes to one day make a full-size zen garden exhibition.

Find more videos of Yuki Kawae’s mini zen garden on Instagram and read his full interview with Hypebeast here.