The Island Gallery
akihiko izukura

Akihiko Izukura, descendant of a long line of master silk weavers who created kimonos and obis for the imperial family in Japan for centuries, has taken his passion for weaving and dyeing in contemporary directions. The Kyoto-based designer works mainly in silk, transforming thread into hand-woven “wind like” fabrics. Essential to his creative process is his philosophy of “zero waste.” His raw materials are silk cocoons which produce both a fine silk thread and a more coarse raw silk. Following a process that is over 2,000 years old, the silk is hand dyed with subtle colors made only from natural materials, such as insects and plants. It is then braided, knitted or woven on looms. The leftover silks are used to develop ceramic glazes and handmade paper.

A graduate of Doshisha University, Akihiko has worked internationally as a textile artist since the 1970s, winning many awards in his native Japan, and exhibiting in Poland, the Philippines, Austria, Denmark, France and the United States. In July 2003 he was invited to the International Textile Symposium in Graz, Austria, and his eternal silk tube was featured on the cover page of its guidebook. In 1994, Akihiko founded Senshoku-do, a traditional ceremony of weaving and dyeing similar to the tea ceremony that seeks harmony with nature; he has performed the ceremony internationally as well as regularly in workshops in Kyoto.

Akihiko collaborates with young and established artists both in Japan and the U.S. and has been featured in Fiber Arts and Ornament Magazines. As noted by Janet Collins (Fiber Arts, Jan/Feb 2006),

Izukura believes that a textile fashioned by hand shows the character and emotions of the person who creates it. That being the case, his work speaks volumes....
Izukura..creates handwoven textiles, which he believes embody a very special quality. He calls handwovens “breathing textiles” because as he and his artisans transform threads into handwoven fabrics, they pray “for achieving harmony with nature.” The weavers make every effort to create textiles that “reflect the light, wind, and natural world.”

And we are particularly fond of Akihiko’s contemporary jacket designs – ”upside down” jackets that can be worn two ways as shown in our images.

From Jan/Feb 2006 FiberArts Magazine. Akihiko Izukura in his tunnel called Birth of a Yarn, made in 2003. Dyed with clove, madder root, indigo and cochineal, the tunnel was woven in a tubular fashion on a loom of Mr. Izukura's own design. Photograph by Hirotake Motojima.