Silk thread (Kibiso)
Overall: 25 × 55 × 7 in. (63.5 × 139.7 × 17.78 cm)

Fabric itself can become more intellectually challenging and I like that kind of surprise in human beings too, when you get to know each other. It is kind of nice to have layers and layers of human experience come out. That is what I enjoy very much about life and cloth.  

—Kiyomi Iwata


Iwata began her career in the arts after taking a batik-dying class at VMFA’s Studio School in 1967. In the early 1970s she moved to New York where she studied weaving and textiles at the New School of Social Research. Primarily a fiber artist, Iwata uses her medium—most often silk—to push the boundaries between painting and sculpture and explore the intersection of Japanese and American artistic traditions


Chrysalis Four marks her transition from using woven silk to form volumetric structures, like boxes, to treating kibiso thread as lines in a two-dimensional composition. Kibiso is the rough, thick silk thread produced by silk worms before they begin to make the smooth thread traditionally used in textiles. Here the loosely woven kibiso references the life stages of a silk worm, forming the shape of eleven cocoons. The transparency of the forms, however, allows each thread to cast a bold shadow, creating an intricate drawing behind the three-dimensional object.


Kathleen Boone Samuels Memorial Fund
Kiyomi Iwata, From Volume to Line, Visual Arts Center, Richmond, VA, April 10-June 7, 2015
Visual Arts Center of Richmond, and Kiyomi Iwata. 2015. Kiyomi Iwata: from volume to line : April 10-June 7, 2015, p.11; Illus. cover, pp.15, 18.
© Kiyomi Iwata

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