Wednesday 29 January 2014

WIPW - Two small steps

WIPW- a smart way to share any Work In Progress you have made between two Wednesdays. Head over to Pintangle to learn more, to share and to take a look at the progress made by others.

Visiting and reporting from the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival in Tokyo have taken up a lot of my time so I have only two small steps of WIPW to report.

No fancy quilting this time, I have simply worked some ordinary quilting stitches on the blocks with lace.

Swedish Cushion
On the Swedish cushion I added some TAST #16 Wheat ear Stitches then made a circle of #12 Alternating Barred Chain Stitches.

Tuesday 28 January 2014

13th Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival 2014 - Part 5

Here is the last part in my series of reports from the 13th Tokyo International Great Quilt Show 2014.

Of the many excellent exhibitions outside the contest, one features the work of Shizuko Kuroha. She is famous for seeing the potential in Japanese indigo, and creates fantastic quilts with depth, glow, sheen and lustre, in spite of using mainly blue indigo, with a sprinkling of black, white, brown or red.

In this exhibition Japanese weaving technique was also shown:

The white tread is painstakingly tied, dyed, tied and dyed resulting in a much controlled space dye.

The posters that NHK produce are excellent - oh, how I wish I could read Japanese easily!!! The illustrations help a lot, though.

They also had a TV screen with a film showing the different steps in dying, weaving and finally quilting.
Ms Kuroha is often seen demonstrating her work; of course she is at the show every day and always encourages the crowd that gather around her table. Here is a link if you want to read more about her.

Apart from the Swedish wool embroidery exhibition, NHK are celebrating another part of Northern Europe, Finland, and the wonderful world of Moomin. Tove Jansson, who wrote these children's stories was born 100 years ago. The illustrations in her books have charmed both children and adults the world over. One who has been spellbound by the charm is the Japanese quilter Yoko Saito. You might well know that she is famous for her taupe quilts.
Together with her students and followers, she has made 50! quilts from the illustrations in the books.

Yoko Saito made these dolls.
As well as this winter landscape.
Her quilt was used for the official poster of the show, and then there is the 5m!!! long quilt seen on Tanya's blog. (I had no chance to take a picture of the quilt).

Here are some of the other quilt copies, made by Ms Saito's students:

Sachiko Tanenaka
Noriko Mukai
Aren't they just great?
NHK's carpenter contributed with the Moomin House.   

Quilts made by 60 of Japans top quilters
There is such a variety of quilt styles in Japan. Many prefer a traditional style and have excelled in making meticulous copies of Baltimore Album quilts, scrappy quilts from reproduction 30s fabric or fabulously rich crazy quilts. Others have devoted their efforts to Wa quilts, Mola, Hawaiian. Year, by year, however, we see more individuality and thinking outside the box.

Here are some examples from the top quilters of Japan.

Wonderful Small Flowers of Japan by Fumiko Miura
Inspired by Japanese embroidery, wouldn't you say?
Detail from
Needleworks of the 1920s by Sanae Kono
Peaceful Scenery in Spring Mist by Toshie Yamagata
This pale indigo quilt shone like silver!
Bubbles and Vortexes by Keiko Takahashi
She is famous for her colourful quilts. The sparkle in these come from the metallic thread.
Hearts are Linked by Sachiko Yoshida
There is a fantastic collection of antique kimono silk in this quilt. I can't imagine how large Ms Yoshida's stash is or where she has found some of the very unusual colours like lime green or aqua.
The dots are all joined with chain stitches. The title refers to how the hearts of the people of Fukushima are joined, although many, many residents are still living far from their home towns.
A Flight by Fumiko Nakayama, the Queen of Mola.
Flowers in a Red Room by Keiko Miyauchi, the Queen of appliqué.

Detail from The Hidden Lake by Hiroko Koike
Spring Midnight by Yoko Sekita
Have you ever seen the Japanese Hina dolls for Girls' Day? They sit formally on tiers. During the day, that is. At midnight the all get up to party!!!
Stories of Ties by Machiko Miyatani
At a Café - my 'Ecole de Paris' - by Yoshiko Kuriha
Maybe at a cafe in Monmartre you would see these Amedeo Modigliani models?

With this quilt I end my report on the 13th Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival.

Monday 27 January 2014

13th Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival - Part 4

Julie and I met up for lunch. Now here comes a bit of information for those who intend to visit the show one day and want to know about lunch.
There are several options.
  • bring a packed lunch (e.g sandwiches from a convenience store)
  • or buy a lunch box and eat in the stands (see picture)

  • sandwiches are served in the Key Coffee shop inside the arena
  • you can get rice dumplings 'onigiri', or Japanese noodles in the Ureshino tea shop (also inside the arena)
  • walk up the stands and buy a simple lunch (fried noodles, fried chicken, snacks, ice cream...)
  • get your hand and ticket stamped at the exit and go out to eat in the Tokyo Dome area (sushi, pizza, you name it...)
(Please note there are not many options for the vegetarian. My advice is to bring lunch.) 
Julie and I opted for fried noodles and ate them in the stands. 

Neither of us had done any shopping but it is a WONDERLAND of trade stalls, if you can get near enough to see the goods!

Fujix is a famous Japanese thread maker. Often these corporate stalls show a new range, inventions or gadgets. Visiting such a stand is a good way to keep updated on what's new.

2014 is the Year of the Horse.

These are ornaments for the Hanging Hina festival, (dolls festival). To lean about this tradition click on Hina at the top of the Blog.
Then there are shops for fabric, notions and tools of the trade, as well as second hand kimonos to cut up and use for patchwork.
Another feature in Japan is that many famous quilters/teachers run their own business and sell kits, books and the selection of fabric they use.
Go shopping to Yoko Saito for taupe, Kathy Nakajima for Hawaiian, Shizuko Kuroha for indigo, Michiko Sonobe for Victorian lace...
There are 244 stalls!

Quilts made by Juniors
Here are some examples of what children (under 15 years of age) have made.
あっ飛んだ by 田中智章
A beginners workshop for small kids, and their mothers.
This quilter pinched her mother's false eyelashes!
うーん!あまい! by 大場彩希
はらぺこおべんとうランド by 東広島市立松賀中学校
If you are still hungry, how about one of these lunch boxes at the amusement park?
Sushi rolls, 'onigiri' rice dumplings, Japanese omelette, fried prawns, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, meat balls and strawberries I can identify. What are the brown rolls with green and orange bits?
This map of the world was charming! Can you find your country?
It was made by students from the same junior high school as the picnic quilt above. Isn't it great when teachers lead a project like this?
世界中の友達に『こんにちは!」by 東広島市立松賀中学校

A most unusual section of the quilt show is the
Framed Quilts
The 'quilts' have to be inside a picture frame, but quilting does not seem to be a must. Many are appliquéd, pieced, glued or embroidered.
輝く富士 by 鈴木有子

草の饗宴 by 藤森千里子

旅の思い出 by 大畑裕美

道開きみーちゃん by 山本有紀子

A feast of embroidery!
ルビー色の幸せ by 坂口圭以子

MARUで遊ぼう by 神田睦
マダムふじ子 by 小山内悦子
Lots of knitting in this!
This is the winner of the Framed Quilt Category
赤い月 by 彦坂泉

By this time Julie and I were ready to meet our blog friend Tanya. It was the first time for us to meet her and she was just as lovely as we had expected. She is a true vitamin injection! Tanya has written about her visit to the dome, with great pictures. Check out the crowds!

Sunday 26 January 2014

13th Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival 2014 - Part 3

Dear friends, followers and 'accidental' blog readers. Thank you for all your kind comments. It is such a pleasure to share the show with you all.

On the second day Julie and I arrived individually and looked around at what we had a particular interest in before meeting up for lunch.
Although the crowds at times were frustrating, I headed to an exhibition that is very close to my heart:

'Wool Embroidery' - Treasures of Scandinavia
Collection of the Museum of Culture History, Kulturen, Lund, Sweden

Every year this quilt show features some examples of antique fabric art, for example Amish quilts or Lucy Boston's patchwork.

When I submitted my Partnership block I enclosed a letter explaining my Swedish roots. A couple of weeks later I was contacted by NHK and asked if I could assist them in finding information on antique Swedish wool embroidery. They had in vain tried to find museums willing to lend items. The reason for refusal seems to be that the show is held in a baseball stadium, not a museum. NHK also found it hard to search the internet as none of their staff knows Swedish. This was during my holiday in Sweden and I  spent a good deal of time collecting info. During autumn I continued to dig up historic facts for HNK.
The result is that Museum of Culture History, Kulturen, Lund agreed to lend eight pieces of superb embroidery.
NHK has made a fantastic display. A special 'museum' room has been built within the baseball stadium, where the textile treasures are displayed inside wall sized cabinets, under soft light, behind glass and with humidity control. There is a uniformed guard on duty at all times. Photography is not allowed. The posters and information on the wall and next to each article are flawless in both Japanese and English.
There is also a three-page colour spread in the show catalogue. Unfortunately the only English text in the catalogue is the letter of introduction by the curator, Karin Hindfelt, see below.  I so much would have wanted the descriptions of the bed spread and the carriage cushions published in English in the catalogue.

My first stop was therefore to go to the 'museum' booth, look at the beautiful embroidery and copy the English text into my notebook (no photo allowed so couldn't take a picture of the text).
I did however take some pictures of the outside wall display:
Notice how they have painstakingly painted the wood panelled walls in 'Scandinavian' style.

I take my hat off to NHK for all the hard work and thank them from the bottom of my heart for seriously protecting these museum pieces.
Now if you are really interested to see examples of antique wool embroidery from Scania (southern Sweden) check out the museum's search engine.

  • head over to Carlotta
  • write 'agedyna' in the search box and click the arrow
  • tick the box 'visa endast föremål med bild' to see the pictures
Now back to the QUILTS of the show! Let's look at the Original Design Quilts
早春 by 山崎秀美
Oh, if my camera had only managed to capture the true colours and radiance of this quilt!
夕景 by 石浪崇子

Now prepare yourself for an unusual quilt. It has a blind in front.
The scene is the view from Tokyo Sky Tree, the newly erected broadcasting tower, 634m tall.
The striped blind has the same scenery.
Can you see how they overlap?
On this side are the pulls that wind up the blind to reveal the quilt underneath.
A round of applause for 
このほしの by 紅林道枝

Spool flower by 山井美和子
Sparkling Quilt by 中沢フェリーサ

Notice the beads!
This quilt had a light that was absolutely magical. I could feel the soft spring night and the fragrance of the illuminated cherry blossoms!
夜桜 by 青木真喜子
I have a soft spot for Mola, especially when it is use for 'new' designs.

南の島はパラダイス by 坂根羊有子

気分はロンドンガール by 丸濱由紀子
Forgive me, but what London girl would have such a collection of sweet romantic umbrellas? It must be the Japanese girl who is an exchange student in London!
Excellently made quilt, the handles are made with wood print fabric and each umbrella is so beautifully decorated.
気分はモナコ by 丸濱淑子
Look at the clever inclusion of selvages. I wouldn't mind hitch-hiking with this driver!

If we got lost we could follow this sign!
不思議なYAJIRUSHI by 吉田寿恵

Do you remember the soap bubble quilt from Yokohama International Quilt Week last year?
Here Ms Fukayama has taken a snapshot of her dogs playing on the banks of a Japanese river but longing to be running around on Prince Edward Island. Julie, that is what P.E.I stands for in the title!
If they were in P.E.I by 深山公子
Let me end this post with a favourite quilt of mine, well you might know that I love embroidery and embellishments. I mean it could be a TAST stitch sampler!
太陽のめぐみ by 田中和子