For the month of March, the Museum Gallery at Kentuck Art Center has been transformed into a serene oasis by the graceful textiles of Chie Hitchner. Her heart for the artisanal process of her work is beautifully portrayed in the intricate and delicate patterns of her fabric.
"why weave? for me, it is to capture and preserve the best of techniques that emerged over centuries in the workshops of our ancestors. and just like our ancestors, to show that we too can create inspired objects of beauty on a slowly emerging two-dimensional canvas of cloth.”
With meticulous instincts for design and color, Chie begins with raw silk which she washes in two different soaps to achieve a shiny soft texture. Taking great pride in sourcing her materials from her Montgomery, Alabama neighborhood, she then hand-dyes the thread. The colors on display are a gorgeous combination of bold blues, gentle yellows, and vibrant reds paired with more subtle warm colors.
"people enjoy watching a camellia, but to me after the flower falls to the ground, to me that's a treasure."
After dyeing her thread, she sits with paper and pencil and begins her design. Chie does not copy traditional Japanese designs; she creates her own unique designs to express her creativity through weaving. Working from her home studio, she maintains the integrity of her heritage by weaving everything by hand. The only machine she uses is her loom.
Hitchner has been in the U.S. for 25 years and for the last 15 has resided in Montgomery, Alabama. Her work is a modern reinterpretation of Japanese weaving and dyeing techniques that are hundreds of years old, capturing and preserving the techniques that emerged over centuries in Japan.
Chie has a Masters in Design from the Tama University of Art, and a BA from the Arts and Crafts Department of The Joshibi University of Art and Design, both in Tokyo. She is an Associate Member of Kokuten, which is one of the longest-standing associations of artists in Japan, and she exhibits regularly in their annual, juried exhibition in Tokyo. In 2010 she was a recipient of the Kokuten’s Newcomer’s Award in the Crafts Division of the exhibition.
Fiber Art: Handwoven, Hand-Dyed Textiles will be on view at Kentuck in Downtown Northport until April 3, 2022. We encourage you to see this show in person! Interested in purchasing a piece from the show? Call Kentuck at 205-758-1257 or email email@example.com for more photos and purchasing information. Please click on an image for a closer look.
This exhibition is sponsored in part by the Alabama State Council on the Arts.