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Keiko Schmeisser: In the Fold and Stellar Reflections
Keiko Amenomori-Schmeisser: In the Fold
Born in Japan, Keiko Amenomori-Schmeisser spent her mid-childhood years in Germany while her father sold fine cotton yarn to the lace makers of Europe. Whilst in Germany, Keiko studied textiles and met her husband Jorg.Schmeisser. They moved to Australia i 1978 where Jorg headed the Canberra School of Art Print-manking for many years. Although Canberra was their base, they often travelled to Japan and particularly Nara where the family had settled (and is a traditional centre and supply for indigo dye). As a designer, Keiko engages in collaborative commissions that offer a high standard of modern design. In 1995, Amenomori-Schmeisser attended a workshop attended by a Japanese indigo artist, Hiroyuko Shindo, and became fascinated with the Shibori technique.
Keiko's works are represented in the national collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, Orange Regional Gallery, Parliament House Art collection, ACT; and internationally in Germany and Japan.
The Work of Art
According to the artist, Keiko Amenomori-Schmeisser, texitle is one of the elements in Japanese art & craft, which has always intrigued her from an early childhood on. As a student she studied texities in Germany and since then fibres have been at the centre of her work. Keiko is interested in their intrinsic qualities and expressive potential. Shibori (shaped resist dyeing) is one of the oldest techniques employed for everyday as well as ceremonial use in Japan and many other countries. The hiding and revealing of parts of the cloth, its strict discipline and the unpredictable nature continue to fascinate her.
In the work of art, 'In the Fold', stitched lines in different directions create patterns, complicated overlaps and impression of folds. The seemingly solid gateway however consists of three soft flat pieces of cloth. The shimmering white marks on them are those parts of the linen which the dye has not reached. the deep blue of the natural indigo was achieved through twenty times of dyeing to an unfathomable depth.
This play with the object, its patterns, our perception of it, the light and the dark (chiaroscuro) touched and untouched parts of the material reaches back tot he distant past of shibori and at the same time points to new directions for the future.
Keiko Amenomori-Schmeisser is also represented in the Art Collection at the University of Canberra with a large work of art that formed the carpet for the main Council Room. 'Walking on the Stars' depicts the reflection of the night sky upon still water. It is made of a blend of Australian and New Zealand wool and its eight colours were custom-dyed in Australia. The carpet weighs over 200 kilograms and is about 10 by 4 metres.