For Immediate Release
For More Information, Please Contact:
Emily Schlemowitz, Senior Curator
Cedarburg, Wisconsin – The Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts (WMQFA) is pleased to present Akiko Ike: Boro Chiku-Chiku (May 18–August 27, 2023), the artist’s first-ever solo museum exhibition in the United States. Ike is a renowned textile artist, teacher, and gallery owner from Niigata, Japan. She has exhibited her signature style internationally, including throughout Japan, France, Australia, and in 2019, in the U.S. at WMQFA [group show].
At the age of sixty, she began creating unusual, stitched pieces, using humble remnants of indigo-dyed cloth and old work clothes. Giving these and other used textiles from her environment new life, she transforms found cloth by stitching with a strong thread in a manner she calls “chiku-chiku.” “Chiku-chiku” is the onomatopoeic word Ike has coined to describe the sound her broad needle makes as it runs into and out of the cloth. Now, nearly twenty years later, she has amassed a significant collection of vintage textiles laced with her own thread in her characteristic running stitch.
Ike often draws inspiration for her imagery from her
surroundings, in particular her admiration for the sea
and children. Niigata, situated alongside the picturesque coastline of the Sea of Japan, is known for its fishing. One of Ike’s characteristic tableaus are vibrantly stitched carp she hangs inside simple wooden frames. Playful and animated, the fish appear as though they are swimming alongside and above the viewer. Ike’s installation-based works will immerse the visitors in tableaus, inviting them to move around, under, and through the works.
Ike will give a gallery walkthrough on Friday, May 19, from 5:30–7:00pm, which will be in Japanese with an English translator; and will lead a “Chiku-chiku” workshop on Saturday, May 20, from 9am–noon, where participants will be able to make a custom bag using vintage fabric Ike is bringing from Japan. Additional programming includes a Textile Talk, produced by Studio Art Quilter Associates, to be broadcast virtually on July 12 worldwide to its members. All didactics and supporting text for this exhibition will be presented in English and Japanese.
The museum is grateful to the Japan Foundation, New York, and the Wisconsin Arts Board for its generous support of Akiko Ike: Boro Chiku-Chiku.
About the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts (WMQFA)
The WMQFA is a textile-based museum in Wisconsin and one of only a handful in the country featuring a mix of contemporary and historic quilts and fiber arts. The mission is dedicated to creating, preserving, displaying, and educating the public about the artistic, cultural, historic, and social importance of textiles throughout civilization.
Located on an 1850s farmstead, just east of historic downtown Cedarburg, Wisconsin, WMQFA features 4 major exhibits and offers over 40 classes and workshops annually. The WMQFA’s private collection has 3,500 unique works of fiber art dating back to 1200AD.
Since 1988, the WMQFA has documented over 8,000 quilts and their stories. Documentation continues today with the public having the opportunity to bring their quilts, handed down by family members, to contemporary quilts to the museum for documentation on select days. Volunteers work to determine the history, design, and construction of these quilts and help to register them in a national database.
The Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts is a non-profit 501(c)3 business. More information may be found at wiquiltmuseum.com or by calling 262-544-0300. Our address is N50W5050 Portland Rd., Cedarburg, WI 53012.