“Flowers Of The Cosmos” by Fumiko Nakayama
Let me just say right up front that this quilt show exceeded expectations in every way. Something I really love about Japan is that Art-With-A-Captial-A is defined so generously, and artists whose work requires many years of mastering the technical parts of making it are not dismissed as “craftsmen” but given full respect. And when that happens, you get
this level of mind-boggling!
So, first of all, it’s no surprise that any showcase of Japanese quilts is going to feature insanely fractal levels of piecing and stitching perfection.
I do not want to know how many hours this took. (“Countless Flowers Blooming” by Kazuko Tanaka)
And this. Yeah. (“Jack In The Box” by Keiko Ike)
And did I mention this? (“Mother’s Favorite Winter Peonies” by Mineko Miyashita)
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are a few I thought you might enjoy, because they were especially Only In Japan delights.
This one is simple, but it not only has a super Japanese theme (those oddly compelling orange paper lantern thingies), it shows them in a very “autumn” way, with end-of-the-season, bug-eaten leaves. (“Silver Hammock” by Kumiko Morita)
This one takes the J-theme all the way, even using quilting patterns that are traditional washi paper and kimono motifs. (“Distant Memory” by Kumiko Tada)
This one turns some typical “autumn” motifs into a slice of graphic goodness. Bonus points for the hand-dyed indigo bits. (“Soon The Wind Will Bring Winter” by Kumi Ohkawa)
And of course, there were cherry blossoms. On steroids. (“Cherry Blossoms” by Masako Sakagami)
This lovely manages to use traditional piecing, but the design and colors were gorgeously Not Your Usual Western Choices. (“Infinite” by Etsuko Ishitobi)
Some of the subjects felt poignantly Japanese, and I was surprised when the artist wasn’t. (“Garden Nasturtium” by Jungsun Jung)
This Japanese forest landscape really stopped me in my tracks, because I RECOGNIZED it! I’ve been to that place! (“Sunbeams Between The Trees” by Hiroko Oouchi)
Speaking of landscape quilts, a few artists have pioneered completely new techniques of stitchery. This one is made of THOUSANDS of cloth snippets, in a sort of avant garde form of applique. The photo really can’t do it justice – IRL it was astoundingly painterly and quilt-y at the same time. (“The Street of Golden Leaves” by Keiko Kimura)
Others were amazing because all those pieces that look like printed fabric were actually…
…hand-embroidered, using traditional Japanese sashiko techniques. O_O (“Kaleidoscope” by Hideko Onozaki)
This is what might happen if Escher had made quilts using Japanese maple and ginkgo leaves and carp (“Ultimate Autumn” by Reiko Nakahara)
And yeah, I know they have cats outside of Japan but…cats. (“Tea With Mom” by Naoko Suzuki)
The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon
For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it… read more
“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.”
Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had