Inspired by the work of craftspeople of the past, the textile artist Hiroko Takeda blends experimental techniques with traditional Japanese weaving methods. In Giant Waffle series, she explores the sculptural forms of two-dimensional compositions, using organic and synthetic materials such as bast fibers, animal fibers, metallic and plastic yarns.
Hiroko Takeda: I was trained to create fabrics that are aware of the hand and pleasant to touch. This was part of my mingei education – that the work should have utility and craft. As I got older, I learned to express my ideas and feelings more freely. I began to approach the work as if drawing or painting with yarn in three-dimensions—painting a sculpted canvas, making something beyond simple categories such as fabric or textile.
Giant Waffle Series
Hiroko Takeda: In Giant Waffle series, I wanted to see the sculptural form that a two-dimensional composition could take when I released the tension and freed the work from the loom. I realized that the structure allows me to experiment with approaches to composition, color, and texture freely. In this series, I use different materials, organic and synthetic – bast fibers, animal fibers, metallic yarn, plastic, others. The selection and combination of materials depend on what I hope to achieve for a particular work within the series. It is challenging to match the concept with technical and aesthetic elements such as yarn choice, structure, and setting.
Importance of crafts
Hiroko Takeda: My background is in Japanese folk craft. I received training in the many elements involved in working with textiles and weaving – from carding and spinning yarn to dyeing and other techniques such as kasuri, shibori, and katazome. I have been fortunate to learn from other global traditions as well. But craft for me is a means rather than an end. The concept for work comes first and my knowledge of craft helps me realize it.
Interview with Hiroko Takeda | Photography Nostalgia diptych and Nostalgia II by Alan Tansey.