Reveal and conceal, Stage 1, Research point

9 February 2016

The course notes state that I should add to my knowledge of the work of textile artists and designers, by focusing on those that have investigated and used light or transparent and translucent material to evoke particular qualities in their work. I started with the artists suggested, and the supplemented this with a few more of my own. 

As before, I have decided to write up the reserach as a separate document, which allows me to include photos from books without breaching copyingwright. My reference list for this work is included in the blog bibliography.

I want to make some brief comments regarding my overall findings:

Japanese vs. Western – cultral differences in the approach to textile art and design

Generally speaking, Western textile artists take issues of gender, society, politics and the urban and natural landscapes as their themes. (5) In Japan, however, there seems to be an innate sensitivity and empathy with the natural environment (1,2,3,4,5,6) and a recognition of craft practitioners as having a status akin to fine artists (5). As a result, the style of Japanese artists is usually based on craft traditions, and is often minimalist with a meditative, contemplative quality (5). 

Initially, I found this broad generalisation difficult to accept, but as I researched more and more artists it became apparent that they more of less all fitted within the established norms of their culture. 
The importance of lighting

Several of the artists I researched would not be able to display their work as intended without specific lighting conditions. The Japanese artists, in particular, seem to almost exclusively create site specific installations, making use of natural ambient light, in addition to artificial illumination. This Illustrates just how critical light and shadow are in the display of textiles – something which is a challenge for OCA students who have little control over how their work is displayed or viewed by tutors and assessors.



  1. Kawashima, K, Millar, L, Reuter, L, Harper, Millar, C. (Ed) (2005) 2121: The textile vision of Reiko Sudo and Nuno. University college for the creative arts. Epsom.
  2. Kuroda, R. (2009) Portfolio collection: Kyoko Kumai. Telos art publishing, Winchester.
  3. Agano, M., Reuter, L. and Uchiyama, T (2003) Portfolio collection: Machiko Agano. Telos art publishing, Winchester.
  4. Wilcox, T., Penney, C., Mathison, F. (2012) Tapestry: A woven narrative. Black dog publishing. London
  5. Colchester, C. (2009) Textiles today: a global survey of trends and traditions. Thames and Hudson, London.
  6. Yeh, D. (2003) Artist portrait: Masakazu Kobayashi. June 19 2003. Available from: [Accessed 10 February 2016]

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