Book Review – Structure and Surface Contemporary Japanese Textiles

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This is another book on the recommended reading list for Assignment 4 and again I was able to order it through the State library service.

I have to admit to being singularly uninspired by the content! Maybe the textiles within needed to be appreciated in the flesh rather than in photos, as, while they all had a simple beauty, they did not strike me as being anything out of the ordinary.

I did like the foremost shawl below by Jurgen Lehl, which was made from silk which has been Shibori pleated and dyed but have seen many similar and more attractive (to me) items using the same techniques in galleries and shops in Australia.

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I had to ask myself the question of what made these textiles worthy of being featured in an exhibition and a book? I can see the appeal as a collection to mark a point in time, a reference so that in the future people can see what textiles were being produced at that point in time.

The majority of the textiles were in a single, subdued colour with limited surface treatment.  If I can learn anything from looking at this book it is that sometimes simplicity and subtlety is the key and that textiles do not have to be complicated or have multiple techniques and embellishments to be successful.

Mc Carty C& McQuaid (1991)Structure and Surface Contemporary Japanese Textiles Museum of Modern Art New York

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