Japanese Embroidery: A Journey of Tradition and Innovation

August 29 – December 3, 2023

The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Garden is delighted to host Japanese Embroidery: A Journey of Tradition and Innovation exploring the thousand-year-old technique of traditional Japanese embroidery, nihon shishu, and its modern adaptations to a global art form.

Nihon shishu is characterized by intricate patterns of silk and metallic thread, utilizing traditional symbolic motifs that are woven onto the finest silk fabrics. The stitching skills required to perform and master this art form are intensive and extensive. This art form is considered one of the most challenging forms of embroidery in the world, due to its emphasis on delicacy and refinement. The result is an exquisite, almost unbelievably detailed yet balanced composition, when viewed closely one can sense energy, movement, and light reflecting from the finely stitched metallic threads.

Historically nihon shishu was available only to the elite of Japan who could afford such costly work, however in recent years this has changed. The cultural heritage of Japanese embroidery has spread worldwide and is practiced internationally by skilled stitchers.

Winter Park resident, Karen Plater, trained extensively with nihon shishu masters, in the US and Japan for many years. Having mastered the traditional skills, she now creates her own original designs, making adaptations to the traditional uses of color and composition. Plater is a certified Japanese embroidery teacher, sensei, and has trained students for over 20 years, some traveling from as far as Japan to experience her nihon shishu expertise. We are thrilled to share her life’s work of beautifully crafted Japanese embroidery along with works completed by her students.