Dec 24

December 24

1940 –
Fiber Artist • Play Space Architect

Born in Japan in 1940, Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam grew up in the midst of World War II, her family forced to move several times due to various occupations. She attended the Tama Fine Art Institute in Japan and later studied at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. In the 1970s, two of her early fiber arts installations, “Fibre Columns/Romanesque Church” and “Atmosphere of the Floating Cube,” influenced the growing fiber art movement. Like Faith Wilding’s Womb Space, Toshiko’s fiber creations were architectural in scale, inviting the viewer to not just look, but enter and interact.

These early works were muted in color and not intended for “play.” But Toshiko had been searching for the meaning or purpose of her art.

what do I value in life? Who am I? Why do I create…? One day I was exhibiting a 3-dimensional …textile [and] some children…climbed into it. Suddenly the piece came to life. My eyes were opened. I realized I wanted just such a connection between my work and people alive at this moment … I realized I was in fact making works for children.”

She and a friend began a study and found how very few playspaces were available for kids in Japan. So she experimented with color, fiber, and stitches and soon began creating fiber playgrounds.

She and her husband now run a business out of Nova Scotia that creates playground installations for locations all over the world. Toshiko calls her creations “public art for kids.”

Color photograph with upper body of elder asian woman dressed in black standing in the center hole of a giant crocheted playground net that raises up behind her with multiple colored circles and holes that are openings to enter and leave from
Toshiko standing in one of her textile playgrounds

Links for Further Exploration

Invitation to Creativity

Children are not the only ones who need to play or to take risks; to have open-ended sandbox time: space to explore and be curious. We all need this as humans. AND we need to create, to transform. Making gives us a sense of agency in the midst of a chaotic world.

Our invitations to creativity these past 24 days have intended to help us all do a little more creative playing. This seemed to be the real gift of BMC to the many artists who gathered there. We hope you will keep finding ways to be inspired by other makers and to keep (re)making yourself.

What kind of “creativity play dates” can you plan for yourself going forward? Where, with what, and with whom, can you keep finding space to MAKE and PLAY!?!

Further Inspirations

If you’ve enjoyed having a daily creative assignment, check out “The Art Assignment” for future possible play dates with creativity.