Liberty Fabrics Design Series: From Japan With Love
Step into a world of creative imagination, sent From Japan With Love – designed by Liberty Fabrics in collaboration with eight contemporary Japanese artistsRead more
From Japan With Love features the work of eight contemporary artists in collaboration with Liberty Fabrics. Contributors worked across a wide range of graphic, textile and fine art mediums ranging from modern kinetic sculpture to traditional wood-block printing. These bold and striking modern artworks were then transformed into fabric layouts in our in-house London studio – a contemporary reflection of Liberty’s historic creative connection with Japan, each finished print from the collection touches upon a different influential facet of Japanese art and design.
Nana Shiomi is an multi award-winning artist-printmaker whose work draws upon traditional art techniques such as ukiyo-e woodblock printmaking, interpreted through a modern lens. Her ‘One Hundred Views of Mitate’ print uses a theatrical grid formation, while ‘The Sound of Waterfall’ translates water and koi fish motifs into a dynamic repeat pattern.
What is the effect of seeing your work printed as a Liberty fabric?
It was so exciting to see the transformation of my own work into fabric, and I especially love the sense of repetition. It was so satisfying to go around inside one small repeating pattern after another, it’s never-ending, and the different colour variations put a slightly different atmosphere into the patterns. The finished fabrics are beautiful – it will be out of my imagination how people use them.
Noritake’s charming, ultra-minimal designs can be found adorning phone cases, socks and baseball caps, as well as in advertisements and fashion publications across the internet and in print. The Liberty Fabrics designers have used his work to create a unique dotty print, featuring a little figure draped across the curve of each circle.
You usually work in black and white – how was it to see your work in colour for this collaboration?
I pondered whether I should ask Liberty to accept my ‘black and white’ rule, or whether I should entrust the designers with colouring my design. In the meeting the Liberty team showed me many of their fabrics, and I became fascinated by their sense of colouring – so I decided to withdraw the black and white rule and asked Liberty to freely colour my work.
It was my first attempt to work in such a manner, but Liberty came up with a fresh and sweet design which I am extremely satisfied with. They laid out my designs rhythmically and coloured them using very chic tones – exactly as I had expected.
Ai Teramoto’s work reflects human nature through material objects, suffusing every design with a sharp, heartfelt expressiveness that draws from graphic novel styles. A focus on cosmic elements appears in the print for Liberty Fabrics, with its eccentric constellations of zodiac-like elements drawn from everyday life.
What is the story behind the motifs in this design?
The various motifs that are scattered like constellations were initially drawn separately, for different projects – I gave them to Liberty’s design team, who incorporated them into one artwork. I think that the combination of characters, plants and tools, which at first might seem strange, starts to resonate in the night sky, as if a mystic story emerges from them.
I hope that this fabric becomes a part of someone’s life, in a place and time that I can’t imagine.
Daijiro Ohara is a Tokyo-based designer who works in a wide range of mediums, from typography and graphics to kinetic sculptures, sound performance and poetry. His ‘Word Board’ design showcases how different alphabets and typographies have different voices – this one is made from a wooden skateboard deck etched with kanji characters, offering “a way to ride on words”.
You work in lots of different artistic mediums – do you have a favourite?
I have respect for the various mediums. I cherish things like thinking with my hands, exploring with my feet, and understanding through my gut rather than through my brain. I am especially attracted to kinetic objects and mobile matters, as they are expressions that glide between “writing” and “speaking”.
Textile designer Yuri Himuro creates collections that explore the unique and often surprising results that occur from interactions between people and textiles. Specialising in jacquard weaving and cutting, Himuro often snips away the surface section of the threads to create new and unexpected colours and shapes. She has won many international awards for her work, and previously collaborated with Liberty Fabrics for ‘Liberty Champions’.
Can you tell us a bit about your ‘Sky’ design?
‘Sky’ is a textile in which the white threads remind us of clouds covering the surface of the fabric – cut them with scissors to discover the blue sky that appears from underneath, or have fun creating various silhouettes of contrails and thunderclouds. From childhood, I loved looking up at the sky. I used to picture images in the clouds and enjoyed their constantly transforming shapes. For me, clouds are an important motif that still inspires my imagination.
Photographer Tetsuya Niikura studied oil painting before moving behind the camera – his still life works retain a painterly quality, whether he is working with jewellery and fashion editorials or flowers and live beetles. He collaborated with Masaaki Kawaguchi, a well-known flower artist, to photograph a selection of strange and beautiful organic botanical scenes that were used as inspiration for this collaboration with Liberty Fabrics.
Your photographs are characterised by a sense of organic movement – do you notice anything different about them when seen in a fabric design format?
It’s a new sensation for me to see, for the first time, the images that I singled out as photographs turned into a repeat pattern. I love the image of the flowers that appears repeatedly, just like an afterimage. I had previously had our photographs of flowers used in a fabric print once. But this Liberty Fabrics design is different, it seems to portray a completely new outlook on the world.
Yuko Kanatani’s work combines dazzling psychedelic colours with a meticulously ordered geometry. Her joyful pop-inflected pieces are created through painting, collaging, installation and animation, all presented with a dynamic sense of movement. Kanatani is inspired by countercultural ‘60s music, with asymmetrical designs ‘She’s Aa MOYPUP’ and ‘Magical MOYPUP’ implanting the vibrancy of her favourite invented word into iconic song names of the era.
What do you like about the style and music of the 1960s?
I like the fact that it’s vibrant and pleasurable, and that it is organic, blending with both nature and folklore. Also, I like the sense of freedom of the Women’s Lib Movement, Peace Movement and various countercultures. Listening to music is like seeing a rainbow forming in my mind, and I like this colourful aspect of it.
Face Oka challenges the flattening and homogenising effects of mass-production with his hand-drawn illustrations. He works closely with fashion brands, musicians and magazine publishers, always creating works in a style that expresses his unique worldview. For this collaboration with Liberty Fabrics he created a richly-detailed narrative print that unites variety of disparate yet harmonious elements – always inviting you to look a little closer.
What is the story of this design you’ve created for Liberty Fabrics?
There isn’t one particular story behind it. However, since it mixes various elements that I feel comfortable with, it feels as though this design expresses the life that I have lived as an artist. But it may be that this is true for all the artworks that I create.