Exhibition: Sashiko Textiles
Venue: York Art Gallery
The first exhibition of this traditional Japanese craft in the UK comes to York Art Gallery courtesy of guest curator Michele Walker whose research has focused on sashiko textile work. The show features 100 sashiko garments and related objects. It provides an in depth look at the traditional methods of making and the spiritual connotations of the clothes worn throughout Japan’s farming and fishing areas.
Sashiko garments were made and adapted to the needs of workers and were the lowest hierarchy of clothing. Normally T-shaped, allowing for movement, the fabric was layered and sewed with a running stitch which followed the grain of the fabric. The embroidery, often symbolic, was thought to offer protection to the wearer as well as denote the wearers status.
Most of the items are being shown in the UK for the first time and the exhibition does prove both informative and well-researched, featuring rare everyday items almost worn down to tatters, textile company Nuno’s contemproray take on sashiko and designer Tokunaga Miyoko’s one-off fashion garments. However the context is sparse, a wider history in relation to Japan’s vibrant textile and clothing history would have provided a rich comparison. An appealing look at an often overlooked tradition but torn from circumstance.
Showing at York Art Gallery from 10 October until 24 January.