Unfolding Landscape

No landscape in our life is neutral, and we define ourselves in terms of place. Cas Holmes’ fascinating exploration of our relationship with our environment – and the effect of the local landscape on our own memories and imagination are reflected in her current work and writing. Her fourth publication 'Textile Landscape' (Batsford 2018) showcases the author’s mixed media textiles and travel diaries, as well as work from international artists. Returning to early memories of studying in Japan, Cas was fortunate to be able to visit the studio of Itchiku Kubota ( and see some of his fantastic landscape Kimonos.

She explains that “In Japan, the painting of cloth manifests itself as a wearable art form in the canvas of the kimono. The patterns and colours express a cultural appreciation of the landscape, where the natural world and seasonal changes provide the richest source of inspiration. She goes on to say that “One of the most impressive representations of this art form can be seen in the sublime work of Japanese artist Itchiku Kubota (1917–2003), who revived the lost art of Tsujigahana (silk dyeing) used to decorate elaborate kimono during the Muromachi Period (1333–1573).”

The misty and bleak landscape of her native Norfolk and majestic views of the rolling hills of the Kent Downs beyond the windows of her small studio provide year-long stimulus for her work. She states: The relationship we have with the landscape, we encounter anew or are already familiar lodges more deeply in our memory when our interpretation is evidenced in the drawings, images and objects we collect.

Cas sees the tools and references used in in painting and textiles as connected and a valuable resource for the textile artist to use to make their own interpretation of landscape or place.

Textile Landscape by Cas Holmes is published by Batsford. Photographs by Jacqui Hurst.

Cas Holmes is a textile artist, author and tutor based in Kent, UK.

Exhibitions in 2018 include a gallery at the Knitting & Stitching Show and the World of Threads, Ontario. She is also participating in Bloom, marking Leeuwarden as International City of Culture. The exhibition ‘Painting with Cloth’ in Rochester, UK open from Friday 1st March until 19th May.

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  • christine bell on

    Thanks for reminding me about Itchiku Kubota’s wonderful work in landscapes on silk. A selection of his kimonos were on display in Berlin in the ninties – to dye for!

  • Cas Holmes on

    Thankyou for sharing the fascinating work Itchiku Kubota. As part of the greater subject of landscape his work beautifully illustrates how cloth and ‘paint’ combine to express the artists vision within a specific cultural tradition. The images are of the installation ‘The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota’ at Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute, Utica, New York State. 2018. Correction to dates. The exhibition ‘Painting with Cloth’ in Rochester, UK open from Friday 1st March until 19th May.

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