Textile Talks with Aoi Yoshizawa & Virginia Soenksen

Presented by JICC, Embassy of Japan and Embassy of Finland

Join us for a talk and discussion on textiles with artist and designer, Aoi Yoshizawa, and curator, Virginia Soenksen.

A Finnish-based textile artist and designer, Yoshizawa engages in experimental processes that apply traditional weaving techniques to contemporary textiles. Within her creative process, she seamlessly integrates the repetitive actions, mechanisms, and time-consuming aspects of the interlacing technique, adding depth and intricacy to her art and design works. In this talk, Aoi Yoshizawa will unravel her creative process and showcase her remarkable art and design works.

Japanese textiles offer insight not only into the technical expertise of their creators but also into the role they play in the country’s broader historical and social context. In this talk, Virginia Soenksen will delve into the rich tapestry of both historical textile arts and techniques, shedding light on their cultural significance. Furthermore, she will examine how contemporary textile artists interweave innovation and tradition to adapt to a modern, globalized world.

A panel discussion and Q&A will follow both talks.


Aoi Yoshizawa is a textile artist and designer based in Helsinki, Finland. Originally from Japan, Aoi Yoshizawa has lived in Nordic countries since 2006. She graduated from Aalto University in 2015 with an MA in Textile Art and Design, and from the Bergen National Academy of Arts in 2011 with a BFA in Textile Art. She currently works in a studio on the small island of Harakka in Helsinki. As of September and October 2023, she is currently an artist in residence at the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York

Currently, Yoshizawa works with her own custom looms in the long-term project I AM A WEAVER – an artistic research and technical experiment in hand weaving. In this project, she has been investigating traditional weaving methods and reinterpreting them into contemporary practices. Her loom installations are created by combining different ancient techniques with various materials.


Virginia Soenksen is the director of the Madison Art Collection and Lisanby Museum at James Madison University. She earned a BA in Psychology from the University of Mary Washington, an MA in Art History from Tufts University, and she is currently a PhD student in Strategic Leadership Studies at James Madison University. She has previously worked at the Fralin Museum of Art, the Ringling Museum, the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture, and the Frist Art Museum.

Soenksen’s work on educational programming and audio-visual exhibition components earned several awards from the Southeastern Museums Conference and the Tennessee Association of Museums. She has been an invited speaker at the San Diego Museum and the Textile Museum at George Washington University. Her publications include several articles in Textiles Asia, and Textiles of Japan: The Thomas Murray Collection (Prestel, 2019).

Soenksen is a passionate supporter of Asian art, cross-cultural learning, and museums as agents of change.

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