Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tokyo Quilt Show 2010

Nearly two weeks ago I went to the Tokyo International Quilt Festival at the Tokyo Dome. This is the biggie, the mother of all quilt shows on this side of the world. The Yokohama show in the Fall had stunned me with the beautiful craftsmanship and the inspiring displays and if that was the warm up show than I knew I’d be in for a treat with the Tokyo show. I was not disappointed.

This time I was most fortunate to have two Japanese friends accompany our group. They acted as translators for us – which was particularly helpful when we happened upon two demonstrations in the special exhibit “The Beauty of Indigo – The World of Japan Blue.” This exhibit was of particular interest to me with my current study under Master Shibori Artist Hiroko Andou. If you would like to follow my experiences with shibori you can go to:

There was a beautiful exhibit “Technique and Sensibility: Nubi Quilting by Korean Artisan, Hae-Ja, Kim” and a whimsical special exhibit called “Welcome to My Room” where nine different artists came together to present their works on different themed rooms.

This quilt was the first place winner in the Traditional Quilt Category. It’s called Ocean of Trees by Keiko Morishita. Thank you to who provided the translation on her blog and this description:

“After taking a trip to Hokkaido, she could not forget the quiet and depth of the forest there, and recreated it in basic squares. But in order to convey the far depth and heaviness, she put the seam allowances on the front, and to prevent fraying, all pieces were cut on the bias.
From a distance, it looks like a regular quilt. But up close…
The pieces are what you normally see on the back of a quilt top. Look closely, and you can see how all pieces were cut on the bias (to prevent fraying), and the seam allowances show on the front. The quilt was finished in a regular way–quilted, and with a solid backing.”

There were several special exhibits in addition to the winners and entries in a numerous categories. There was so much to look at and really, I think next year I would like to go twice. And lets not forget the vendors … oh, so many cool Japanese sewing and quilting supplies. Yes, I bought – spent pretty much all my allotted Yen, saving only enough for the train ride back. I have more projects and a cute apron is one of them. But it requires a sewing machine … mmm, not sure how I’ll get around that requirement. Was reading about a Babylock serger on the moving hands blog – that could be a fine compliment to my Bernina. Wonder what Jeff would say to that one? For the amount of money I spent on my Bernina (which he calls the Ferrari) I believe he thinks the darn thing should be able to make and sew anything and everything by itself.

I absolutely loved looking at the craftsmanship of these quilts. I know, for some of you (including my immediate family members) it would be like watching paint dry. But the attention to details, the innovative combination of machine stitching, hand stitching and embellishment left my head swimming with ideas. I picked up some projects – mostly hand work, and tried to keep reminding myself that one of my goals while I’m here in Japan is to just be a sponge. To learn all I can about all that interests me, let it percolate for the time I am here and when I get back to the states we’ll see what starts to happen.

So for now, I will be content to observe and appreciate, to take classes when I can and to be thankful again to have this wonderful opportunity to live in Japan.

Till next time, sayonara.

A very special thanks to Kim Jordan and Valerie Okon who lent me their cameras and patiently took oodles of pictures for me. When I arrived at the Tokyo Dome I pulled out my camera only to discover the battery was dead. Lesson learned, always, always check the battery level the night before.

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