Seiko Atsuta Purdue

Professor, Art Department


Seiko Atsuta Purdue is Professor in the Fibers/Fabrics area in the Department of Art and Art History at Western Washington University.  After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Kyoto Seika University, she came to the United States where she received an MA at Montclair State University and a Masters of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  She has exhibited textile installations widely and has given workshops on Japanese textiles (shiborikatazome, and papermaking) for many years.  Her most recent major project was curating the exhibition “Coded Threads: Textile and Technology” in 2017 with help from her colleague Pierre Gour at Western Gallery.  She is currently co-curating “Katazome Today: Migration of a Japanese Art” for Whatcom Museum, which is held in Feb-June in 2023. 

Much of her work is installation-based, using fiber materials or ideas of fiber, seeking to connect East and West.  She explores both traditional and contemporary textile techniques, particularly casting.  After exploring the theme of motherhood using domestic materials such as clothing and toys, she has worked on global issues.  “Hyoga (Iceberg)” was based on the concept of global warming, and the most recent installations, “Meadow” and “Cluster,” are concerned with organic systems and labor.  

Recently, she has been investigating new methods: casting forms and textures of fabrics in handmade paper that she processes and dyes with natural dyes.  By using soft molds she is hardening a moment of memory on cloth that has been created by repetitive handworks.  She honors old skilled crafts such as shibori and the labor that goes into them.