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item 1
 'Party Dress'     
Materials: Silk kimono fabric
Techniques: Hand Knitting 
Size: W 38 x H 175cm
Date Made: 2005
item 2
 'Folk Dress'     
Materials: Silk Kimono Fabrics, yarns (wool, silk)
Techniques: Hand Knitting 
Size: W 45 x H 90cm
Date Made: 2002
about the work

Colour is the main focus of my interest in knitting, and I get so much pleasure finding new colours as I work. Unfortunately, however, it’s not that easy to find exciting coloured yarns in my local town. Although dyeing my own yarns at home would be one possibility, my skill is rather limited, so I took another direction. One day toward the end of 90’s, I got hold of some old kimonos that used to belong to one of my family. As nobody wanted to use these anymore, I felt free to do anything I liked with them, including cutting them into pieces!

Silk kimonos often have the most beautiful colours. I cut the kimono fabric into strips and used these as knitting yarns. Used kimonos have provided the main source for my materials ever since.

Like many other people in Japan, kimonos mean a lot to me, but I also notice that those feelings and associations have changed dramatically over the course of my life. A new trend in ‘kimono recycling’ shops developed recently, and several of them opened near me. Kimonos have several qualities that make them easy to recycle: they are no particular size so almost anyone can wear them, and because they are formed out of rectangular shapes loosely sewn together it’s not hard to dismantle them without damaging the original fabric.

Once the kimono recycling shops started appearing I found it much easier to get hold of the colours I wanted. It also, more importantly, made me feel a lot less guilty about cutting a kimono into pieces.

Every kimono fabric has its own specific colours and patterns, its own woven structure and texture. Once a kimono is cut into strips and knitted up, it’s all too easy for these specific qualities of the fabric to disappear. In this piece, I tried to preserve as much of the original qualities of the fabric as I could, so that they were still present even after the strips were knitted. I was inspired by the traditional methods of kimono making to try and stiffen the fabrics using starch. I was delighted with the result because it allowed me more freedom to manipulate the fabric tapes and to use many different sizes. My aspiration was to make a formal dress that, although it seemed quite different from the kimonos, nevertheless shared the same essential qualities