“Yoshiko I. Wada is one of the most important teachers in the American fiber art field. She is single-handedly responsible for introducing the art of Japanese shibori to the U.S. Many well-known fiber artists have studied with her, such as Ana Lisa Hedstrom and Lia Cook. Ms. Wada was especially influential in the art-to-wear movement.“(excerpt from James Renwick Alliance announcement of 2010 Distinguished Craft Educators)
“Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada has chosen her subject well. As the global authority on shibori in its myriad forms Wada has, for decades, been the driving force behind this tradition’s popularization……we don’t recognize the Colossal spanning of East and West, past and future.“(excerpt from the foreword by JACK LENOR LARSEN for her book Memory on Cloth: Shibori Now, 20002. download entire foreword pdf)
In 2018, American Crafts Council (ACC) inducted Yoshiko I. Wada as an Honorary Fellow to the ACC College of Fellows, and in 2016, George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum presented Yoshiko the George Hewitt Myers Award in recognition of her lifetime achievements in advancing knowledge and appreciation of the textile arts.Yoshiko was named a “2010 Distinguished Craft Educator – Master of Medium” by the James Renwick Alliance of the Smithsonian Institution. Twice in her career she was awarded the prestigious Japan Foundation Fellowship (1979 & 1997) wherein the first research yielded the1983 definitive publication, Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing (eighteenth printing, 2017), and led to her second shibori publication in 2002, Memory on Cloth: shibori now (seventh printing, 2014). Additional grants include: the Indo-US Sub commission for Education and Culture (1983) affiliated with the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad; the former Matsushita International Foundation (now Konosuke Matsushita Memorial Foundation) (1998) for replication of Pre-Columbian shibori/amarras textiles; and the James Renwick Fellowship (1992) at the Smithsonian Institution.
Past appointments include: ” mnēmonikos: Art of Memory in Contemporary Textile” at the Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok, Thailand; “The Kimono Inspiration: Art and Art to Wear in America,” The Textile Museum, Washington, D.C.; “El Arte de Teñir con Amarras,” Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile; “Japanese Design: A Survey since the 1950s,” Philadelphia Museum of Art; several shibori and bandhani exhibitions at the National Institute of Design, India; “Shibori: Tradition and Innovation – East to West” and “Ragged Beauty: Repair and Reuse, Past and Present,” Museum of Craft and Folk Art, San Francisco.
TEACHING & CONSULTANCY
In 2014, sustainable fashion company in Los Angeles, dosa inc included an entry for Yoshiko in their Glossary. Since 2010-2020, Yoshiko is Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Textile and Clothing, Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Since 1992, she has been a lecturer at Okinawa Prefectural University of Fine Arts, and was a Research Associate and Visiting Scholar at the Center for Japanese Studies, University of California at Berkeley. Her expertise has been sought by department stores in Japan, designers and curators to whom she has been a consultant. Clients include Colleen Atwood for the Hollywood film production, “Memoirs of a Geisha,” and Christina Kim for dosa, among others. She served as an advisor for Gunma Prefecture Sericulture Preservation Society and has been an advocate for designing with 100% Japanese silk textile – a rarity in the 21st century Japan. Since 2000, she has been an advisor to Aranya Naturals, a social welfare natural dyeing project in Munnar and to an organic cotton producer, Appachi Cotton in Pollachi, both in India.
A longtime advocate and spearhead of ethical production of textiles and handicrafts, Yoshiko founded the Slow Fiber Studio ™ (est. 2008), which promotes culturally and socially responsible textile-making practices. She is President of the World Shibori Network (est. 1992) and served as co-chair of the recent 11th International Shibori Symposium (ISS) in Nagoya, Tokyo, and Yamagata in Japan, 2018; 10th ISS 2016, Oaxaca, Mexico; 9th ISS 2014 in Hangzhou, China and 8th ISS in 2011 in Hong Kong, a role she has performed for all previous ISS (Lyon & Paris in France ‘08; Tokyo, Japan ’05; UK ’02; Australia ’04; Chile ’99; India ’96; Nagoya, Japan ’92). Under the Japan Foundation Fellowship 1979, she established the Meisen Research Society at the Kiryu Orijuku Textile Archive, Kiryu with Mutoh Kazuo, its members include Koichi Arai and Masanao Arai of Gunma Prefecture, Japan. She has served as a Board of Trustees for American Craft Council, Haystack Mountain School of Craft, San Francisco Museum of Craft and Folk Art, Capp Street Project, and she is on Artist Advisory Council for the Fabric Workshop & Museum since 1980s. In 1975, she taught and published in English the first technical instruction on Japanese kasuri weaving, ‘Ikat: An Introduction.” She in now producing the fourth edition in the series of education-instructional films on Sustainable Practices in Natural Dyeing with Michel Garcia in France, promoting traceability and socially responsible natural dye and color practices based on phytochemistry, botany, history, and empirical research. See trailers here.
Advisory Council Member, The Fabric Workshop, Philadelphia, PA. 1993 to present.
Trustee, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, ME. 1997 to 2003.
Trustee, Museum of Craft & Folk Art, San Francisco, CA. 1998 to 2002.
Trustee, American Crafts Council, New York, NY. 1993 to 1999.
Trustee, Capp Street Project, San Francisco 1990 to 1996.
Founder/ Owner of Kasuri Dyeworks, a gallery and shop specializing in retail and wholesale Japanese textiles, art supplies and folk crafts. Berkeley, CA. 1975-85.
Advisory Committee and Faculty, Fiberworks Center for the Textile Arts, Berkeley, CA. 1975-78.