My image of fabric art has been clouded by vague impressions of shaggy rug hangings, unsatisfying yarny concoctions, and heaps of twine or rope symbolizing something or other. But that all changed when I went to Stitch by Stitch, an exhibition of Japanese fabric artists at the Teien Art Museum (one of my favorites in Tokyo).
For starters, I saw that the use of fabric could be as incomprehensible as any of the finest in abstract impressionism. That pieces of clothing could be so laden with decoration that it would firmly cross over from fashion into art, like the ominous bejeweled cape that was in a dimly lit room. Or that it could literally envelop the viewer in sheer bright red curtains of knotted lace. Continue reading