Feathers and Steel

Nonu Fabrics at the Textile Museum in DC
Nuno makes shockingly beautiful fabrics that somehow convey both the ancient aura of Japan’s oldest textile traditions and a nuclear age inventiveness.  Some fibers are shrunk, coated, combined, bonded; others are coaxed from Okinawan banana plants, the roughest part of the silk cocoon, or spun from metal. Nuno combines their library of unusual fibers with the lightness of feathers and the strength of steel.
 
Which of course makes the title of Washington’s Textile Museum, located in a lovely Georgetown mansion, all too appropriate.  Feathers and Steel is a small exhibit consisting of only 18 examples from Nuno’s extensive collection.  But the Nuno selections are on display alongside the Mary Basket collection of contemporary Japanese fashion. Together, the two shows give an exciting overview of Japanese textile innovation at the end of the 20th-century.
 
Nuno was founded in 1984 by Junichi Arai and Reiko Sudo, and originally sold traditional Japanese textiles – which explains the continued emphasis on artisanry, and the aura of reverence for textile processes.  From that strong base, Nuno has become one of the world’s leading producers of technologically advanced fabrics.  
 
Seema Krish, who worked as a textile designer at Nuno for four years, and has now founded her own fabric line, comments about the company:  “I find Nuno unique as their fabrics are not purpose-driven, but instead are process-driven. Nuno works with skilled artisans throughout Japan- restoring old techniques of textile making combined with state-of-the-art manufacturing technology and cutting edge materials, thus providing new life and meaning for textiles.  Nuno does not decide how the textiles will be used: the consumer decides whether the best use of any particular design lies in fashion, interiors or simply as art.”
 
Washington’s Textile Museum, and many museums in the US and abroad before it, have decided that Nuno’s work is indeed art.
 
Feathers and Steel runs through April 11, 2010. See www.textilemuseum.org for more information. Also visit www.nuno.com for more about Nuno.
 
Textile Museum
2330 S Street, NW
Washington, DC  
Tel:  202 667 0441
 
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