Photo gallery Machiko Ito’s ‘conversation with glass’
Glass artist Machiko Ito visited the University of Wisconsin–Madison Nov. 9 to Dec. 3 as a fall 2022 artist in residence. While on campus, she met with students and gave a public demonstration of her process. Machiko Ito delicately crochets and weaves industrial fiberglass strands into both abstract and familiar shapes.
Machiko Ito came to campus through the International Visiting Artist Program, part of UW’s Division of the Arts. Since 2019, the program has sought to bring artists to campus who would not otherwise be able to share their work in the United States, prioritizing those from less developed countries, of marginalized identities or who provide a unique perspective to their field.
International Visiting Artist Machiko Ito displays a work of braided, kiln-fired fiberglass to undergraduate students in Design Studies 101: Introduction to Textile Design. Ito constructs sculptural artworks with crocheted, woven and bundled glass fiber.
Design 101 students speak with Machiko Ito during her class visit.
At a public demonstration in the UW Glass Lab, Machiko Ito explains how different firing temperatures affect crocheted fiberglass. Machiko Ito says, "When I started working with fiberglass, I had to test to find the best firing temperature. I love the process of each step. It's like a conversation with glass."
A display of Machiko Ito’s test pieces shows the results of her fiberglass firing experiments. As the temperature increases, the texture and color qualities of the fiberglass change, becoming a glossy pale green as the thermostat rises.
Ito demonstrates her process, combining techniques from both textiles and glasswork. Before becoming a glass artist, Machiko Ito worked as a knitwear designer.
Missing her home island of Okinawa and lacking the resources to travel, Machiko Ito started making shoes of fiberglass to imagine walking home. Here, she constructs a shoe with prepared pieces of crocheted fiberglass.
A coil of crocheted fiberglass rests amidst crochet hooks and knitting needles. Machiko Ito blends traditional textile crafting methods with glass artistry to create delicate, textured pieces that challenge both forms.
Machiko Ito creates sculptures in abstract and familiar shapes. Many of her pieces, including this bowl made of interlocking crocheted fiberglass, incorporate a circle motif, which she describes as a meaningful form in her work that represents the wholeness of a person.