Green Glossary: K for Kibiso
Kibiso is a Japanese word referring to a type of silk waste.
Japanese in Origin, European in Design
Leather hangings were a popular way to decorate walls in Europe in the 18th-century. They were often called Spanish leathers because they originated in Spain in the 17th century, but these early hangings were simply painted. As the popularity of leather hangings increased in the Netherlands and England, it became more popular to emboss the...
The Wright Chair
Echoing the larger artistic vision of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, this chair was designed for the hotel’s Peacock banquet room in the early 1920s. Amongst the 700 drawings that exist for the hotel, most are for its interior, showing how significant its design was.[1] The chair’s hexagonal back and square seat reflect...
Boro and Other Japanese Recycled Wonders
Textile expert Stephen Szczepanek, owner of the textile gallery Sri, shares his knowledge about the remarkable recycling practices that were deeply embedded in Japanese folk culture.
No-waste Cotton Cape
Japanese resourcefulness embodied in a nineteenth-century cloak.
Summer of ’69
The brightly saturated colors of this August calendar page seem like a perfect salute to summer. To create the designs for this 1969 calendar, Takeshi Nishijima applied a paper-dyeing technique based on the traditional resist-dyeing process of katazome. Katazome relies on the use of katagami (stencils) to create hand-patterned textiles, most of which were used...
Sensing a new spirit of Japan
When it comes to Japanese graphic design, a certain set of visual elements are conjured in one’s mind. Simplified forms; a minimal color palette, the generous use of negative space; an effective use of black; and unique lettering, are all characteristic elements that draw on the aesthetics of Zen culture, Japanese Buddhism, calligraphy, ukiyo-e woodblock...
Lamé Plus Light: A Textile by Junichi Arai
Junichi Arai is indisputably one of the world’s foremost innovators in fabric and textile design. He was born in the city of Kiryu, Japan, an important center for textile production that boasts over 1,000 years of traditional silk weaving. As the sixth generation of a mill-owning family, Arai learned historical Japanese weaving techniques for obis...
Postcard from Tokyo
Japanese Landscape in the Snow I was delighted by this New Year’s card from Takeshi Ishiguro in Tokyo. On the front was an image of a snow covered landscape, with one of those crisp blue skies that only seem to visit Japan when it’s cold. The card came in an envelope, as the postage stamps...