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editors personal note:

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Tokyo Textile Institute


Tokyo Textile Institute:

editors personal note

Tokyo Textile Institute was the main home of our 'Fushiginoiroito' knitting Workshop & Exhibition from its outset in 1989. They offered our members, who mainly knit as a hobby, a wonderful educational environment in which they could experience many new things and widen their view of the practice of making.

The members of my workshop began as strangers, but in the warm atmosphere of Tokyo Textile Institute, which makes you feel almost as if you are in someone else's living room, they quickly lost their reserve. The Institute takes an active interest in the work that is produced at such workshops and they can be relied on to make straightforward, accurate and invariably helpful comments. This encourages and challenges at the same time. They cherish the concepts and the processes of making. For us, and many others like us, it has been a real home that allows us the space to explore our own needs with great freedom.

I've been a witness to the development of the Institute over many years, so I feel it is only fair to introduce something of its history.

Tokyo Textile Institute was founded by Tetuo Miyake more than twenty years ago, and has been sustained over all that time by a set of beliefs about the value of human involvement with creative practices. Mr Miyake has a master's degree in architecture. He began his involvement with education during the early 1970's, working at Kyoto University of Art & Design and later at Kawashima Textile School, where he helped this newly opened school to develop its overall strategy. For example, Kawashima Textile School published the first book in Japan to introduce the work of Japanese Fibre Art and Mr Miyake was one of the chief editors. His passion for editing continues to this day. Through this he has developed extensive contacts and associations with a wide range of artistic thinking.

I first met Mr.Miyake when I was a student at Kawashima Textile School in the early seventies. Even then he was an evangelist for Fibre Art, something which was then very new in Japan but which Japanese artists rapidly acquired an International reputation in. I have to confess that at the time I felt a little offended by his zeal and assumed he undervalued other textile crafts. Later I came to realise how valuable it was to have been introduced to these concepts at an early stage. When we next met, at Tokyo Textile School in the late 1980's, I quickly realised just how wrong I had been to take umbrage. There he was, large as life, busily spinning vegetable dyed fleece, and what's more, he was wearing a hand spun, vegetable dyed sweater. It was quite unexpected, and I soon realised that his approach to making is based on a deep affection and understanding towards the whole subject. One thing never changes: he never gives up expecting high standards and aspirations from those who wish to be involved in making.

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