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Woo Jin Joo Wins The Janome Fine Art Textiles Award 2021

By Emily Peagram 29 Jul 2021

Mixed media textile artist, Woo Jin Joo, is the 2021 winner of The Janome Fine Art Textiles Award for her work, 虎死留皮,人死留名。(translation: ‘When a tiger dies, it leaves behind its skin. When a man dies, he leaves behind this name.’)

The London-based artist’s award-winning work features a tiger sculpture which she embroidered and stitched onto an IKEA bag before dissolving the backing fabric.

Award judge, fine artist Cos Ahmet, said: “This witty piece grabbed the judges’ attention from the very beginning. Its title is linked to a Korean proverb that talks about leaving legacies behind. This juxtaposition of the embroidered tiger skin laying on top of a mass produced woven Ikea bag sends out an interesting commentary about our principles and associations with materials - and in this case, with textiles as a material but also as a commodity - and how we can easily become detached from their true weight in our modern lives.”

Fellow judge and independent textile curator, Uthra Rajgopal, described the winning work as having: “A wonderful and powerful playfulness on the idea of skin, shedding, consumption and the global environmental politics we are all negotiating on a daily basis, combined with an exquisite attention to detail.

Originally from Korea, Woo Jin Joo’s work is influenced by Asian traditions, philosophies, and culture. She says: “In my practice, I explore our relationship with textiles as a material, and how we are increasingly disconnected from textiles’ true importance and capabilities in modern society. Through my work, I seek to challenge our current perception of textiles’ value so that we could start building a more mindful relationship.”

Woo Jin Joo was presented with a £5,000 prize from award sponsor Janome at The Festival of Quilts today.

The Janome Fine Art Textiles Award is an international juried competition which celebrates textile art’s place amongst fine art. It recognises the creative talents and skills of a wide range of high-calibre amateur and practising artists working with textiles as their primary medium. Entries must be worthy of premium gallery space and transcend their craft or making process. 17 entries were shortlisted from 67 submissions for this year’s award.

Woven textile artist, Laura Thomas, scooped the award for Most Innovative Use of Textiles (sponsored by Her Quiet Materials) for her work, Indigo Twist. Inspired by the symbolism of thread as a metaphor for life in Greek mythology, the artist carefully arranged and stretched strands of fine silk and cotton before encapsulating them in acrylic resin.

Laura Thomas, who won £500, said: “The arrangement of threads is carefully considered then encapsulated to be made permanent to create a hypnotic visual rhythm and representation of our layered, overlapping and interwoven lives. A moment in time preserved.”

Judge Jo Hall, writer, curator and editor, said: “Laura Thomas impressed us with her outstanding manipulation of two such disparate mediums. The tension between both these materials is beautifully handled; the thread held in perfect stasis within the resin, provoking a fresh appreciation of thread as a material and metaphor in this work.”

Winning and shortlisted entries for The Janome Fine Art Textiles Award will be on public display at The Festival of Quilts at the NEC Birmingham from 29th July – 1st August 2021 and at The Knitting & Stitching Show in London and Harrogate this autumn.

Previous winners of The Janome Fine Art Textiles Award are Shelly Goldsmith for Locus of the Dress (2020) and Ann Goddard for On the Brink (2019). Most Innovative Use of Textiles awards have been presented to Marie Jones (Daring Greatly, 2020) and Marilyn Rathbone (Self-Avoiding Walk, 2019).

Full information about The Janome Fine Art Textiles Award 2021 can be found on The Festival of Quilts website at:

The Festival of Quilts is Europe’s leading patchwork and quilting event and attracts thousands of visitors who come along to enjoy hundreds of hung competition quilts, spectacular galleries by internationally-acclaimed textile artists and groups, an extensive programme of workshops, talks, lectures and demonstrations, social events and shopping.

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