Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada

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Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada
YoshikoIwamotoWada headshot.jpg
Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada
Born(1944-08-02)2 August 1944
Kobe, Japan
Known forshibori, textile art, installation art,
Notable work
Polyester Dream, PockeTee Dreams

Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada (born August 2, 1944) is a Japanese textile artist, curator, researcher and author.

She has received international recognition for her scholarship and expertise in the field of textile art. In 2010, she was named a "Distinguished Craft Educator - Master of Medium" by the James Renwick Alliance of the Smithsonian Institution, who stated: "she is single-handedly responsible for introducing the art of Japanese shibori to this country".[1] In 2016 she received the George Hewitt Myers Award for Lifetime Achievement.


Yoshiko I. Wada is the granddaughter of a family of kimono makers in Tokyo. Her paternal grandmother studied European dressmaking in Europe and encouraged her granddaughter through her love and knowledge of European art. As a child, Wada grew up in Kobe and Tokyo, Japan. [2]

After graduating from Hyogo Kenritsu Kobe High School in 1963, she studied textile art and Museum Sciences at Kyoto City Fine Arts University, Kyoto, Japan (BFA 1967). She moved to the United States, and received a MFA from University of Colorado, Boulder in 1971. Wada returned to Japan for postgraduate studies of ikat weaving and indigo dyeing with Tsuguo ODANI, Kyoto, in 1972 and traditional Japanese silk embroidery at Daihiko Studio, Tokyo, 1980-1981. She lived in Kyoto under the Japan Foundation Fellowship to conduct research on shibori in Kyoto and Arimatsu/ Narumi in Naogya city. During this period she began to specialize in the study of traditional Japanese crafts.


Her Japanese background, education and early experience are the basis for the techniques she uses for her artwork, while she gets her inspiration from global cultures, with which she has had extensive contact in her academic endeavors. [2] An example of cultural mergers is her Coca-Cola Kimono (1975). The hand woven cloth is patterned with the Coca-Cola logo, using the labor-intensive e-gasuri, (picture ikat) technique which is commonly used to pattern Japanese folk weaving.[3] [4]

Seeking to share her knowledge of Japanese textile techniques and kimonos she co-founded Kasuri Dyeworks (1975), a gallery and shop in Berkeley, CA. "Perhaps more than anyone else, Wada caused the evolution of fiber focus from cloth structure to the dye patterning that we now recognize as surface design". [5]

In 1983-1984 she lived in Ahmedabad, India on an Indo-US Sub-commission Fellowship for Education & Culture and traveled extensively to research resist-dyed textile traditions in India and to visit cultural heritage sites and museums in India. [6]

In 1979 and 1996 she received the Japan Foundation Fellowship which resulted in two books: Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing and Memory on Cloth, Shibori Now. Based on her knowledge of kasuri, she co-authored Ikat: An Introduction in 1973. In 1996 she co-curated an exhibition and co-authored the catalog at The Textile Museum Washington D.C. The Kimono Inspiration: Art and Art-to-Wear in America.

Wada has co-organized and chaired all International Shibori Symposia, including the 2014 symposia, at the China National Silk Museum, Hangzhou. The first one took place in Nagoya in 1992 [7] , and led to the foundation of the World Shibori Network, which she co-founded with Kahei Takeda, of Arimatsu. [8] Wada is president Of the World Shibori Network. In 1998/1999 a grant from the Matsushita International Foundation enabled her to study pre-Columbian textiles at the University of California, Berkeley and at the Smithsonian Institution. [2]

She has acted as consultant to costume designers such as: Colleen Atwood for the movie Memoirs of a Geisha (Academy Award for Best Costume Design), Miyake Design Studio, Kuno Dyeworks, (for Cirque du Soleil and Tiffany & Co.) and Eleanor Coppola (for Francis Ford Coppola Presents). [9] She lectures and teaches workshops on textile-related subjects including shibori, dyeing, and the recycling and transformation of fabric. [10] Exhibitors of her artwork work include the Smithsonian Institution's Renwick Gallery and the International Textile Fair in Kyoto. [6] [11] Since 2010, Wada has been Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Textile and Clothing, Hong Kong Polytechnic University.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Presently she lives in Berkeley, California and was married to Hercules Morphopoulos (1934-2016). They have one son.

Grants, awards, honors[edit]

  • 2018. Honorary Fellow of the American Craft Council[13]
  • 2016. George Hewitt Myers Award of the George Washington University Museum, recognizing "lifetime achievements and exceptional contributions to the field of textile arts"[14]
  • 2010. James Renwick Alliance of the Smithsonian Institution "Distinguished Craft Educator – Master of Medium"
  • 2003. American Express Foundation Grant via Aid to Artisans for "Sri Yantra Bandhini Development Project",collaboration with the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India
  • 1999. Matsushita International Foundation Grant for "Amarras" replication and comparative study of ancient pre-Columbian shibori tradition
  • 1999. The Japan Foundation, Grant in support of catalogue publication of National Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago Chile, for 3rd International Shibori Symposium
  • 1996. Asian Foundation Grant for Crafts. Demonstration and exposition of traditional artisans of India, Africa, and Japan. National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India, for the 2nd International Shibori Symposium
  • 1992. The Japan Foundation, Fellowship for research for Meisen Textile Production and Women Consumers in the First Half of the Twentieth Century Kiryu, Japan
  • 1992, 1993. James Renwick Research Fellow, Smithsonian Institution. Senior postdoctoral fellowship for the National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC. Research project The Development of American Shibori / Tie Dye/Shaped-resist since the 1960s. Washington, D.C
  • 1983. The Indo-U.S. Sub-Commission on Education and Culture, Fellowship for research on tie-dyed textiles: bandhani, lahariya and ikat. Research affiliation with The National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India
  • 1979. The Japan Foundation, Fellowship for research on resist-dyed textiles, shibori and kasuri. Research affiliation with Kyoto City Fine Arts University, Kyoto and Arimatsu/Narumi Shibori Preservation Association, Nagoya, Japan.

Curatorial work[edit]

  • 2013 Curator, mnemonikos: Art of Memory in Contemporary Textiles Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok, Thailand
  • 2004 Curator, Ragged Beauty: repair and reuse, past and present, Museum of Craft & Folk Art, San Francisco, CA
  • 2001 Curator, Shibori: Tradition and Innovation – East to West, Museum of Craft & Folk Art, San Francisco, CA
  • 1999 Curator, El Arte de Teñir con Amarras, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile
  • 1996 Co-Curator, The Kimono Inspiration: Art and Art to Wear in America, The Textile Museum, Washington, D.C.
  • 1992-94 Advisor, Japanese Design: A Survey since the 1950s, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, traveled to Milan, Paris, Düsseldorf, Osaka


  • Memory on Cloth, Shibori Now Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada 1st edition 2002, 2nd edition 2012 (7th printing) ISBN 978-1-56836-470-4
  • Shibori, The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist-Dyeing Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, Mary Kellogg Rice, Jane Barton 1st edition 1983, Paperback edition 2012 (17th printing) ISBN 978-1-56836-396-7
  • The Kimono Inspiration : Art and Art-to-Wear in America Rebecca A. T. Stevens; Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada The Textile Museum, Washington D.C. ISBN 9780876545980
  • Ikat : An Introduction Diane Ritch; Yoshiko Wada (1975) - download as pdf


  1. ^ Stevens, Rebecca A.T. (2010). "Yoshiko I. Wada" (PDF). James Renwick Alliance Quarterly (Winter/Spring 2010): 9. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Wakida, Patricia (30 Nov 2010). "Yoshiko Wada". Discover Nikkei. Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  3. ^ Cocco, Claudia (Winter 2010). "To Dye For: Yoshiko Wada". Conference of Northern California Handweavers. Archived from the original on 30 March 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  4. ^ Wada, Yoshiko I. "Coca-Cola Kimono (1975)". Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. de Young - Legion of Honor. Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  5. ^ Larsen, Jack Lenor. "Memory On Cloth-Shibori Now". p. 7. Archived from the original on 8 February 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada 2011" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-02-15.
  7. ^ "World Shibori Network - Past". Archived from the original on 2015-09-02. Retrieved 2015-10-10.
  8. ^ Yoshiko I. Wada-"History of Shibori" (2002). Memory on Cloth: Shibori Now. Kodansha International. p. 46. ISBN 978-4-7700-2777-1. Archived from the original on 2018-02-08.
  9. ^ "Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada - Consultancy and Curatorial". Archived from the original on 2015-11-23. Retrieved 2015-10-11.
  10. ^ "Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada- workshops and lectures". Archived from the original on 2015-04-01. Retrieved 2015-02-17.
  11. ^ "Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts - Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada". Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved 2015-10-11.
  12. ^ "The Hong Kong Polytechnic University - People - Adjunct Professors". Archived from the original on 2015-10-10. Retrieved 2015-10-18.
  13. ^ "College of Fellows". American Craft Council. Retrieved 2020-03-28.
  14. ^ "Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada Presented with George Hewitt Myers Award for Lifetime Achievement". Retrieved 2018-02-16.

External links[edit]