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Making Nuno: Visionary Japanese Textiles by Sudō Reiko

Posted: 8th October 2021

This autumn 2021, Dovecot brings the work of internationally acclaimed Japanese textile designer Sudō Reiko to Scotland with an innovative exhibition created in partnership with the Centre for Heritage Art and Textiles in Hong Kong and Japan House London.

Featuring five large-scale installations combining NUNO textiles and art projections by leading technological designers Rhizomatiks from Tokyo, the exhibition reveals how Sudō Reiko’s work pushes the boundaries of textile production.  Sudō Reiko has been Design Director of leading textile design firm Nuno for over 30 years. She is renowned for championing new methods of sustainable manufacturing with manufacturers from across Japan as well as working with unconventional materials and engineering techniques.


Celia Joicey, Director of Dovecot, says

“We are delighted to bring the remarkable work of innovative Japanese textile designer Sudō Reiko to Scotland. Dovecot is committed to bringing world textiles to Scotland and to showcasing Scottish textiles internationally: and we know the immense creative talents of Sudō Reiko and artistic director Saitō Seiichi will be inspiring to our audiences. The themes of sustainability and regionality in NUNO textile manufacture are timely examples for UK textiles.”


Mr Nozomu Takaoka, Consul General of Japan in Edinburgh, says

“This exhibition is borne of a partnership forged between Japan, Scotland, Hong Kong and London during lockdown. I am delighted that Dovecot’s collaboration with CHAT (Centre for Heritage Art and Textile) in Hong Kong, Japan House London and with Sudō Reiko and Nuno in Japan will bring this wonderful exhibition to Edinburgh and create a platform to support closer links and future collaboration between Scotland, the wider UK and Japan.


Sudō Reiko, Textile Designer and Design Director of NUNO:

“Japanese textiles are born of a long history, embracing both refined traditions of artistry and unparalleled high-tech materials. Since 1984, Nuno has collaborated with skilled local artisans all over Japan using a wide variety of different fibres and techniques to craft some 3,000 different textiles. Among these are the richly textured maku partitions that feature in the exhibition. Much more than a mere ‘curtain’, these textiles afford entry into a visionary realm with a uniquely Japanese essence. Please step inside and be transported into our weaving wonderland.”


Trained as an industrial designer Sudō Reiko’s fabric designs combine Japanese craft traditions with new engineering techniques. She works with unusual combinations of diverse materials such as silk, hand-made washi (Japanese paper), nylon tape and thermoplastic, and technologies derived from Japanese hand craft traditions such as caustic burning, weaving and dying. Her designs feature in collections around the world, including MoMA in New York and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

The large-scale exhibition installations highlight the manufacturing processes used in Sudō’s work with art direction by Saitō Seiichi of Panoramatiks (formerly Rhizomatiks Architecture). Using a variety of thought-provoking processes from washi dyeing to chemical lace embroidery inspired by rolls of paper, each installation is accompanied by drawings and sketches, alongside raw materials and design prototypes.


Summary of exhibition sections:

Visitors to the exhibition encounter a series of installations that demonstrates the ways in which Sudō uses innovation and creativity to make steps towards building a more sustainable global textile production industry, with particular focus on the sustainability of materials, regional manufacturing industries and craftsmanship.


  1. Sustainability of Material:

See how Sudō harnesses unconventional materials such as washi alongside textile techniques such as heating and bonding to create entirely original works. Not to be missed, Kibiso Crisscross, a collaborative project with the Tsuruoka Textile Makers Cooperative, takes discarded kibiso, the protective outer layer of silk cocoons and uses a specially developed machine to create yarns from the tough remnants, creating the first step towards realising the ‘no-waste, use everything potential’ not previously seen in the silk industry.


  1. Sustainability of Regional Manufacturing

Explore the origins of Sudō’s work, following her decades of work with family-run factories across Japan which specialise in different production techniques, collaborating with each to develop new, alternative production methods to push the possibilities of industrial machinery making and help revitalise these regional manufacturing hubs.


  1. Sustainability of Traditions and Craftsmanship

Discover Sudō’s designs that revive old textile machines and Japanese craftsmanship on the verge of disappearing. Learn how she incorporates intricate craftsmanship into industrial textile production, collaborating with different experts and artisans along the way to help preserve craft heritage through upcycling and reinvention.

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