Kumihimo Wishes: Current Times by Seiko Purdue
June 3 – August 26, 2021
The Jansen Art Center is pleased to welcome Seiko Purdue for an exhibit of her work. The exhibit opens on June 3 and will be on display through August 26, 2021.
I am celebrating this moment when the collection of people’s strength, patience, creativity, compassion, and spirit comes together in this exhibition by presenting Kumihimo Wishes: Current Times.
During this pandemic time I have been thinking about the power of “craft” deeply. Handwork really helps while being isolated. As a Japanese artist, I decided to share Kumihimo. I made more than 365 Kumihimo kits, each containing a foam disk and 8 strands of yarns that I dyed with natural dyes. I wanted to emphasize the numbers of days, one year, that seemed like a long time to experience the pandemic.
There are so many things that have been coming out from the ground that we haven’t seriously faced or confronted. As a Japanese female artist who lives in the US, I had a chance to think farther during this pandemic, particularly about race, human rights, and freedom. I really wish that people in the world would become more connected instead of fighting. I love the way that craft techniques have been passed from generation to generation. It creates very strong ties to human relationships peacefully.
Seiko Atsuta Purdue is Professor in the Fibers/Fabrics area in the Department of Art at Western Washington University. After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Kyoto Seika University in 1992, she came to the United States where she received an MA at Montclair State University and a Masters of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has exhibited textile installations widely and has given workshops on Japanese textiles (shibori, katazome, and papermaking) for many years.
Much of her work is installation-based, using fiber materials or ideas of fiber, seeking to connect East and West. She explores both traditional and contemporary textile techniques, particularly casting. After exploring the theme of motherhood using domestic materials such as clothing and toys, she is moving towards more global issues. Hyoga (Iceberg) is a large installation work based on the concept of global warming and is an investigation of a landscape of melting ice. She is also always concerned about labor and honoring handworks in various ways.
During the Pandemic she decided to introduce traditional Japanese rope making called Kumihimo by collecting people’s wishes on this current time. This is the latest of her public participation projects intended to connect human relationships.