MAKING NUNO: Japanese Textile Innovation from Sudo Reiko is at the Dovecot Studios Edinburgh from 17 September 2021 to 8 January 2022, and if you have any interest in textile manufacturing and design then this is an exhibition not to miss.
This innovative and informative exhibition is the end product of a new partnership between Dovecot and Japan House London and the Centre for Heritage Art & Textiles in Hong Kong (CHAT) which focuses on works by acclaimed textile designer Sudo Reiko, Design Director of leading textile firm NUNO (Japanese for fabric).
For many of us, the creation of a textile is almost taken for granted and that is perhaps understandable as the product is everywhere, particularly in our world of mass-production surplus. It has not always been like this though; textile has been literally interwoven into the fabric of our society for thousands of years and in pre-industrial society highly valued for both its practical and artistic uses. We have also too often taken as simply accepted the design on fabrics as if they just appear there by magic; perhaps they really do, but it takes a skilled fabric designer and equally skilled workers in fabric to make that magic happen. We are all living in a world where there is a constant need to re-focus on what skilled artisans bring our world, and the connections that they have not only to traditional crafts, but also to something often unseen and indefinable, a connection maybe to something that has always been with us, but is so elusive that we can rarely touch it - human creativity. This last statement is important because through the skills of the textile maker and designers we actually get to touch, to hold creativity in our own hands.
Over the five large installations in this well designed exhibition we get the chance to be reminded that there are still people out there who care about the endless possibilities of creating something wonderful from design inspiration to finished product, and also doing it in a way that allows the industrial processes of manufacturing to be both innovative in its use of materials and sustainable for this and future generations. This use of traditional crafts and the exploration of applying them to new materials and production methods has been at the forefront of Reiko’s work and design ethic for the past 30 years.
This exhibition is a rare chance to get a glimpse into the world of Sudo Reiko and NUNO, to see how design and industrial manufacturing processes combine together from initial design to the end product. Some of these displays are hauntingly fragile and obviously not for touching as you get the feeling that they could vanish like a spider’s web in the morning mist if you did so, but that adds to their mystery. That is also the one addition that I would have added to this exhibition, some small textile samples in books that we can actually touch to let us all experience the different textures of the materials and even the designs upon them. Reiko is designing, and NUNO is manufacturing, textiles in art that have an air of fragility that is often a wonderful illusion to a product designed to have a very practical use and life-span.
Review by Tom King (c) 2021
ARTS REVIEWS EDINBURGH