2009 Weave of the week #15: Knitted web

Knitted web

Knitted web - photo by Steve Butler

This week’s “weave” is a knitted fabric, but it isn’t just any knitted fabric. It was co-designed by Junichi Arai — the man Jack Lenor Larsen called “the most creative weaver in the world” — and Mr. Arai’s wife, Riko, a well-known graphic artist.

This gossamer black silk fabric was knitted on a rascheltronic lace machine. As far as I can tell, that means on a sophisticated, high-speed, warp-knitting machine that produces fabrics that resemble hand crochets, lace fabrics, and netting. Mr Arai’s stated belief is that “fine contemporary cloths are the results of the human spirit and new technology working hand in hand.”

I first saw this spiderweb around 1990, in Zona — another trailblazing lifestyle Soho store that co-existed with Ad Hoc Softwares (described in an earlier post ) — and dropped enough hints to receive it as a gift from my husband. The shawl is about a yard wide and two yards long and weighs only 1.5 ounces! I think that it is too fragile to wear, but I treasure it, and I had it photographed, and now it embellishes my blog pages and serves as my avatar.

For more information on Junichi Arai and innovative contemporary Japanese textiles, see Structure and Surface Contemporary JapaneseTextiles, by Cara McCarty and Matilda McQuaid, published by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, or see it online if your web browser is up to speed.


3 Responses

  1. Thanks for the clarification!! I kept looking at it and going back and forth between whether I thought that grey was background or a part of the shawl!!

    Photographing textiles is hard sometimes!!! I definitely need to keep my eyes out for exhibits or books about that!!


  2. Thanks for sharing your story of your blog header, avatar, and this fabulous shawl!!

    I do have a question about it. Is the black spider web and the white/gray background all part of the shawl, or is the black the shawl and the other some detached background for the photo??? (I’ll check back for your answer!!)


    • Hi Sue, The grey background is the photo paper showing through the lacy shawl . I was going to try to photograph the shawl alone but couldn’t figure out how to make it look like anything but a small, black, blob.

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