Threads of Hope
Art as Social Practice
in the Textile Work of Hiroshi Saito
June 8—July 1, 2012
The Portland Japanese Garden’s summer Art in the Garden exhibition, Threads of Hope: Art as Social Practice in the Textile Work of Hiroshi Saito, features approximately 50 beautifully dyed and handcrafted garments, scarves and wall hangings that express the joy of artistic creation while demonstrating Saito’s mastery of traditional dyeing techniques. The exhibition features contemporary work which reflects the artist’s background in the world of traditional Kyoto kimono dyeing.
Saito believes strongly in the power of art to provide solace and inspiration, and has used his art to work with AIDS support groups, the disabled, and most recently with tsunami victims in Japan. As part of the exhibition, the Garden will display a section of the AIDS quilt Saito produced helped produce in Japan. While he is in Portland, Saito will also collaborate on community projects with Our House of Portland and the Cascade AIDS Project.
Saito works with cotton, silk and natural bast fibers, as well as with wool muslin – a light, soft to the touch and inexpensive cloth that breathes. Muslin is one of the best fabrics to dye because of the beautiful way it takes and shows color. Saito’s garments are highly-sought after due to their rich colors and variations.
The Art in the Garden exhibition series is sponsored in part by the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation
Community Project: Fabric Dyeing with Hiroshi Saito
Monday, June 11, 2012
The Garden hosted a hands-on outdoor dyeing project with Garden visitors and participants from Art from the Heart, an arts-based non-profit organization that serves the developmentally disabled. During this event, Saito led participants to color a 20-meter-long sheet of fabric together. Half of the fabric they create will be sent to people in shelters in Tohoku along with donations raised this past spring at the Garden as a gesture of support for the ongoing struggles of tsunami survivors in Northern Japan. The other half of the fabric will be donated to Art from the Heart for future art-making projects.