A major display of Japanese textiles will be exhibited at the Brisbane and Adelaide fair this year. Curated by world-renowned artisan Akiko Ike the exhibition will include futon covers, patchwork jackets and coats, table runners, furoshiki wrapping cloths, aprons, curtains and a couple of huge pieces including a 7 metre-long carp banner and a crane curtain.

*Akiko Ike is an experienced and skilled seamstress but prefers the boro style of stitching where she uses stitches to bring new life to old cloth. The onomatopoeic term chiku chiku refers to the sound of the needle passing through the thread and has been described as meditative and therapeutic, invoking a sense of calm and is said to even encourage dreaming.

Akiko urges visitors to touch the works, feel their bumps and texture, trace their stitches and examine the layers which have been stitched together. Akiko uses simple running stitch with cotton thread; she doesn’t care about the evenness of the stitch or straightness of line – instead she sews where her heart leads her. This simple sashiko running stitch was traditionally used to mend, patch and strengthen functional textile pieces and to add layers to increase the warmth of a garment.

*IN ADELAIDE, the exhibition will be displayed but Akiko will not attend.



Akiko Ike is the owner of the Niigata Gingka Gallery and Shop, in Niigata, Japan.

At the age of 60, she began creating her stitched pieces, using thin worn out indigo-dyed nappies and old work clothes. Giving these and other old textiles such as worn mosquito nets, advertising banners and wrapping cloths new life by stitching with strong new thread she has developed a distinctive personal style. She holds several exhibitions each year and through these, and her chiku chiku needlework groups, people across Japan are connected by needle and thread.

Akiko has curated this display but will not be attending Adelaide.


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