The 82-year-old Japanese-born artist had to spend her childhood during World War II. She was a print textile designer in New York City for a while. She currently resides in Bridgetown, Nova Scotia, Canada, and is the co-founder of Interplay Design and Manufacturing. She approached fibre art in the early 1970s. She is a craftsman and talented artist known for her fibre art productions. She plays a role in the intersection of textile and fine art. With fibre art, an elongated thread is transformed into 2D fabrics and clothing or combined with depth into an art product such as a 3D sculpture and pavilion. Ms. Horiuchi MacAdam is also most interested in 3D. Although she does not see herself as an architect, she creates spaces with her handiwork.

She gives importance to natural forms and diversifies the potential created by the cooperation of yarn with gravity. The relationship with gravity is due to the fibre being permeable and draped. As a result, she creates interactive environments with great awareness of the properties of the fibre material. She creates flexible structures with this soft material. Her handicrafts refer to architectural structures in the context of form, as well as reference. She also draws attention with its handicraft, techniques, and materials used. With all these features and compositions, Ms. Horiuchi MacAdam creates aesthetic products that convey emotion and meaning. It attaches importance to the touching and feeling of adults and children and the relationship between the body and the human body. It inspires adults as well as children to play. In the following years of her career, her work shifted towards permanent products instead of temporary exhibitions. She also tours temporary products in museums around the world.

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Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam knitting of her sculptures _©Masaki kouzim

Philosophy of Fiber Art

Fibres are obtained from plants and animals or from plastic, nylon, and acrylic, which is a new idea of the day. And some textile processes are obtained from fibres, one of which is woven. Weaving is started by turning the fibre into a thread, and the fabric is produced with this thread. Other textile processes are knitting, rug hooking, felting, braiding or plaiting, macrame, lace making, flocking. With its contemporary fibre art, artists in this field and Ms. Horiuchi MacAdam sees the material as more than material, as a message.

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Example of yarn bombing in Montreal, 2009, by fiber artist Olek_©wikipedia.org

Her Crochet Studies

Crochet Playground

One of her most notable works is Giant Crochet Playground. This idea inspired her when the children wanted to climb on the sculpture at the exhibition of another textile sculpture work. Later, inspired by this situation, she produced large multicoloured 3d art form sculptures/playgrounds by weaving. This was the beginning of the transformation for her. She had to weave the whole web for one year to make a playground. However, when the work was completed, she combined art with children. With crochet, which works as an artificial topography, she enabled them to learn by touching, not by looking. This work is important because it is integrated into real life, not in a museum or gallery. 

According to her website, she describes “large, interactive textile environments that function both as imaginative and vibrant explorations of colour and form, at the same time as providing thrilling play environments” (Hosmer, 2012)

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University of the Arts London Research – Childhood – workflow_©zcavendish

Woods of Net

It is a pavilion made of wooden logs in the Hakone Open Air Museum in Japan. In it, Ms. Horiuchi MacAdam has an interaction area designed for children. It is completely hand-knitted with tons of yarn. Woods of Net creates unique opportunities for children. With these nets, children discover the texture, have fun, learn concepts such as height and weight thanks to the structure at different levels, and are involved in physical activities such as climbing, crawling, and swinging. ‘’The space attracts people like a campfire. The children play inside of the net just as fire and parents sit around and lay in the woods.’’ (Architectuul, 2022)

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Woods of Net – Tezuka Architects_©Abel Erazo

Knitted Wonder Space 2

Like the other two examples, this is also a colourful playground. They are located in the Hakone open-air museum. There is an abstracted form of the mother’s womb, which reminds children of their infancy. As children play, sway, roll, and the structure moves, the feeling of being in the womb or cradle becomes stronger. In this way, an emotional interaction area is formed. It is known that her forms were inspired by the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. Since Gaudi is an architect inspired by nature and curves, the similarity in terms of concepts is striking.

Fibre Columns / Romanesque Church 

It is one of the artistic experience areas it produces. With this work, she developed a commentary on early architectural impressions with nylon material. A large-scale architectural atmosphere was created using Hand Knitting and Crochet techniques.

Horiuchi_©www.knitjapan.co.uk

References:

  1. Hosmer, K . (2012). Vibrantly Colored Crocheted Playground, [online]. Available at: https://mymodernmet.com/vibrantly-colored-crocheted-playground/ [Accessed 20 March 2022].
  2. Architectuul. (2022). Woods of Net, Hakone-Town, Japan by Tezuka Architects, [online]. Available at: http://architectuul.com/architecture/woods-of-net [Accessed 20 March 2022].
Author

It is a great passion for Elif Demirci, a student of the department of architecture, to examine all the works, materials and projects going on in the field of architecture. She believes that her writings will improve the built environment.

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