February 16th, 2012 / posted by paularath

Textile artist Akihiko Izukura.

Renowned Japanese textile artist Akihiko Izukura recently challenged the fashion students at U.H.-Manoa to create a garment with some of his hand woven fabric.

Each student was given one piece, tubular in shape, 109 inches by 51 inches in dimension. It was unbleached raw silk. Izukura-san provided natural dyes, all of which were extracted from local materials such as lipstick tree, turmeric and red dirt. The students were not allowed to use any additives or mordants and the fabric had to be sun-dyed, with no use of man made heat….just like Izukura-san himself dyes his fabrics. Sensei also challenged the students to try to follow his “Zero Waste” philosophy, using every fiber, even the fluff that came off the threads. They were allowed to use sewing machines, but many students chose to do much of the work by hand.

“He wanted the fabric to speak to the students while he stood by and observed,” explained instructor Cynthia Tsark, who taught the class. She explained to the students that with the use of natural dyes and sun dyeing techniques, “The fibers will evolve over time. They’re still living, still alive. It’s part of the process, part of life.”

To see these garments, and meet the student designers, as well as saying “aloha ‘oe” to Izukura-san, come to a reception at the Academy Art Center at Linekona Friday, February 15, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. In addition to the students’ work, you will be able to see the work of the adults in Izukura-san’s Linekona workshops held in January. He said it’s interesting how different the designs of the students and workshop participants are.

Here is some of the student work:

Feliz Salas dyed the fabric with acai and lipstick plant. She used a plethora of pintucks to create shape from the tubular piece.

Feliz Salas with her gown.

Ryan Hanaoka's "Roots and Water" features a hand-sewn bodice.

Ryan with his sun-dyed silk dress.

Kate Hooven calls her dress "The Giving Tree."

Kate Hooven said "Since the fiber was so organic I wanted to keep the design simple and 'native." It is entirely sewn by hand.

Anna Tomita dripped lipstick berry dye to create "polka dots."

Fiona Ng used red dirt to dye her jumpsuit. "There are no side seams" she said.

Kathryn Stringer calls this "Berry Waterfall." She kept the tube shape as much as possible, and the hemline raw to showcase the beauty of the silk.

Melissa Lee calls her dress "Forgotten," as it's part of her senior collection, "Up in the Attic," of lost memories and forgotten dolls.

Matt Gonzalez ombre dyed this dress with acai, which took on tones of gray and purple. He tailored and structured the dress to resemble "the buttresses on the back of an old Ferrari or Jaguar," he said.

Tomorrow I will share some of the photos from other classes taught by Izukura-san at U.H. and Linekona.

– Paula Rath

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