Seaweed scarf: Detail of Seaweed Scarf designed by Miyamota Eiji exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, UK (1)

On a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington, London, I discovered the Textile Galleries. Fabulous fabrics – both ancient and modern – were displayed. I was fascinated by the work of the world famous present-day Japanese designer Miyamoto Eiji whose work was inspired by nature. Of particular interest was his Seaweed Scarf – pictured immediately above and below.

The Seaweed Scarf is a skilfully crafted triple-weave fabric. Its intricately textured and coloured surface of pleats, shirrings and crumplings have been created to evoke an impression of seaweed undulating in water.

I have lots of photographs of seaweed in water. I wondered if I had any images in my collection that might reflect that kind of inspirational subject. I came up with the following pictures – all showing Thongweed floating in the sea just offshore from Winspit in Dorset. The long strands of pale olive coloured seaweed were being flicked and drawn, to and fro, by the undulating waves. I thought the photographs were a good approximation of the idea being captured by the textile designer.

P.S. The V&A Textile Galleries are currently closed (April 2011) while the collection is being relocated to a new building.

Design inspired by nature: Another detail of the Seaweed Scarf designed by Miyamota Eiji exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, UK(2)

Floatinf seaweed: Thongweed floating in sea water at Winspit, Dorset, UK, on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site (3)

Floating seaweed: Thongweed floating in sea water at Winspit, Dorset, UK, on the Jurassic Coast (4)

Common British seaweed: Thongweed floating in sea water at Winspit, Dorset, UK, on the Jurassic Coast (5)

Dorset seaweeds: Thongweed floating in sea water at Winspit, Dorset, UK, on the Jurassic Coast (6)

Natural inspiration for design: Thongweed floating in sea water at Winspit, Dorset, UK, on the Jurassic Coast (7)

 Himanthalia elongata image: Floating Thongweed, Himanthalia elongata (Linnaeus) Gray, at Winspit, Dorset, UK, on the Jurassic Coast (8)

 Revision of a post first published 2 June 2010

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2011

All Rights Reserved

5 Replies to “Seaweed-inspired fabric design”

  1. That seaweed scarf is so beautiful! As is the “real” seaweed floating in that blue blue water. Don’t you admire artists who can create such lovely works? Works that bring us closer to the nature that surrounds us everywhere.

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  2. Hello, Kathy. Yes, the beautiful natural world has always been an inspiration for artists and craftsmen. I have a great deal of admiration for all these talented people who bring nature into our lives in this way.

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  3. I like the juxtaposition of the natural and the manufactured. I went to the V&A to see the textiles and that section was closed for renovations. Good to see some of the beauty that I missed.

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  4. Hello, Lynn. What a shame that you missed the opportunity to see the textiles gallery at the V&A. It is an amazing place. It is a study gallery so you can get up really close and you are allowed to photograph things – sometimes even touch. I especially liked the oriental textiles and the way designers have drawn so heavily on nature for inspiration. In this particular case, I recognised exactly the kind of image of floating seaweed that the artist has so successfully translated into fabric.

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