This is the second visit of ‘Fushiginoiroito’ to the Knitting & Stitching show, following on from their first exhibition at the 2001 Knitting & Stitching Show. This time they have chosen the theme of ‘Beyond the Comfort Zone’.
. For some members of ‘Fushiginoiroito’ the opportunity to show their work at the 2001 Knitting & Stitching Show was itself a huge challenge. They were described then as ‘ordinary Japanese women and housewives’ with a shared passion for knitting, and those of them that came and stood alongside their work, meeting the public, were astonished by the enthusiasm and respect with which they were met. Some of them have moved on, developing growing reputations as individual artists. This time, however, there are several new faces, including more established figures, such as the fibre artist, Suzumi Noda, the professional knitwear designer, Kazekobo and documentation of work by the installation artist, Toshiko Horiuchi. By placing the work of Fushiginoiroito alongside that of professionals, the safety net of being enthusiastic amateurs has been removed. The fact that the members came together through attending the same workshop is no longer of relevance. The workshops are finally over, and each exhibitor faces the same challenge.
Even the most successful artists are sometimes faced with the dilemma that they may risk loosing their way if they stick only with the things that they are good at or familiar with. Knitting – so entangled in the notion of comfort and so satisfying in its own right – can easily offer an all too comforting haven. In this exhibition we want to place the spotlight on the process of making, and to expose to view some of the doubts, struggles and uncertainties that each member has gone through in producing their finished work. There is nothing uniquely Japanese about this. Everyone who makes things has the same conflict. With every step into unfamiliar territory, new questions arise. Techniques, methods or ideas that once seemed to possess self-evident virtue can suddenly loose their lustre. Sometimes we can begin to doubt the most fundamental assumptions about our place within our own culture. There is, however, no definitive resting place – what might seem an enormous step for one person may seem quite trivial to another. The work that results is a kind of encoded history of small decisions, but much of this process is lost to the audience. It is often when a work unsettles us that we can begin to vaguely apprehend and sense the narrative of how and why it was made. Perhaps it is then that the perimeters of our own comfort are called into question.
Nippon no amimono
As a supplement to the Fushiginoiroito show, Yoshimi Kihara, the group’s coordinator and workshop tutor, has prepared a small display that introduces the development of handicraft knitting in Japan since its arrival from Europe, highlighting some of the methods that have been developed there since.
Additional Sponsorship: Clover Co. Ltd.
Japanese knitters from 'Fushiginoiroito' at the Knitting
& Stitching Show