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"Big Wave" Fabric

Designed by Junichi Arai, Japanese, 1932 - 2017. Made by Nuno Corporation, Tokyo, founded 1984.

Made in Japan, Asia


Nylon plain weave with aluminum coating

20 feet × 50 inches (609.6 × 127 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Nuno Corporation, 1991

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Additional information:
  • PublicationJapanese Design: A Survey Since 1950

    For his Big Wave fabric, Junichi Arai applied the traditional tie-resist dyeing (shibori) method to a high-tech base fabric of sheer flat polyester, vacuum-metallicized with aluminum. Dyeing the metallic fabric was only possible because the aluminum surface was coated with a minute amount of polyamide resin. As in the ancient tie-dye procedure, Arai reserved an area from being dyed by gathering and tying the material; to the surface patterns and iridescent variations he created, Arai added the textural effect of heat-set, permanently pleated wrinkles. "Paradoxically," one critic has written, "with each stage of the process, the fabrics lose their impersonal machine-made quality and gain a singular hand-crafted flavor from their very advanced technology. Herein lies the heart of Arai's retro-tech approach to textile creation,"1 a postmodern paradigm.

    1. Reiko Sudo, "Junichi Arai: High Tech Craftsman," in Tokyo, Yurakucho Asahi Gallery, Hand and Technology: Textile by Junichi Arai (Mar. 7-25, 1992), n.p.