Kyoko Wainai is a textile artist and conservationist who had a studio near mine in Vanguard Court, before moving back to Japan in 2019. Among many activities, Kyoko creates beautiful accessories out of vintage kimonos. Her grandmother had a kimono shop in Japan during the first half of the last century and left behind second hand kimonos and fabric remnants, from the simple cottons of everyday kimonos to the richly detailed and embroidered silks for special ceremonies. Kyoko entrusted me with a box of these remnants and gave me free rein to experiment. I have created a series of artworks, from assemblages of kimonos and contemporary linens and cottons to more complex compositions using the traditional technique of English paper piecing, all aimed at making the most of the smallest piece and highlighting its beauty and history.
Three of these pieces were part of the joint exhibition “Pieces of Japan” at the White Conduit Project gallery in Islington in September 2017.