Do Ho Suh’s magical fabric spaces

Do Ho Suh’s exhibition, Passages, at the Victoria Miro gallery focuses on the spaces we easily overlook; the spaces between spaces, the corridors, hallways and lobbies that link the significant places in our lives. He gets us to see them afresh in a novel way – by presenting them as sheer gauze walls in zinging colours. Continue reading

Itchiku Kubota – Kimono as Landscape, Kimono as Art

Photo © Itchiku Kubota Art Museum/Peter Hoff

Photo © Itchiku Kubota Art Museum/Peter Hoff

The latest Japan Foundation programme has just hit my inbox, and I’m thrilled to see that they’re having a talk on Itchiku Kubota and his tsujigahana kimonos. I’ve been interested in these wonderful kimonos for a long time, so much so that a few years back I visited the Itchiku Kubota Museum in Japan to see the display of kimonos there for myself. Continue reading

Vintage kimonos online shop

kimono detailThere used to be shop in Neal St, a long time ago, called Neal St East. No, not the same as the East chain of shops that now have a branch near Covent Garden market; Neal St East was something else. It took up four floors of a complex emporium where goods from China, Korea, India and Japan were piled up in chaotic profusion, like an Eastern bazaar that had taken it into its head to migrate to what was then a quiet back street. I used to love it, not least for the racks of vintage kimonos on sale. Now vintage is becoming an increasingly acceptable choice, Neal St East is gone, taken over by a shoe shop. But it’s still possible to get your hands on vintage kimonos if you know where to look. Continue reading

My top five posts of 2014

Kintsugi lacquer repairIt’s the last day of the year, time to look back and see what caught your attention in 2014. It’s a surprising collection (well, I was surprised, anyway) but then it’s always the posts you least expect that rocket to the top of the popularity charts. So here they are. Continue reading

Delirious Metropolis – Toru Ishii’s modern vision of hell

Toru IshiiI’ve just been to see Toru Ishii’s first solo exhibition in the UK, Delirious Metropolis, at the Daiwa Foundation. It’s a small show, just ten pictures in all, but the level of detail and excitement crammed into each one is remarkable. Even more remarkable is Ishii’s technique – these aren’t paintings, they’re Yuzen dying on silk.  Continue reading

Kyoto, City of Dreams, comes to London

Kyoto City of Dreams I went to a lovely little exhibition of photos of Kyoto and Kyoto-made kimonos yesterday. It’s in a new gallery on Museum St called Mokspace, perfect if you’re on your way to the British Museum and want a little art aperitif before you go in. It’s the work of photographer Jeremy Hoare and his Japanese wife, kimono-maker Chizuko Kimura. Continue reading

Boro – Japanese Textiles at Somerset House

Boro Japanese TextilesIt’s funny how things that were originally just household reliables, used every day without a second thought, can turn into art. That’s what happened with boro, which is an art born from poverty, as Japanese families patched and mended their textiles so as to keep on using them as long as possible. And then times changed and those patched and faded blankets and clothes ended up hanging on the walls at Somerset House. Life is strange. Continue reading

Take a trip to see these entrancing textiles at the Ashmolean

Threads of silk and goldThe Ashmolean Museum’s exhibition of Meiji textiles, Threads of Silk and Gold, opened last week and I expect you’re wondering whether you need to go all the way to Oxford (an hour on the train! From Paddington!) to see it or if you can get by with just reading the reviews and looking at photos. The answer is, you absolutely have to go. I’ll tell you why. Continue reading