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.


  1. Qeenie what a delightful journey you have taken me on this morning, such variety and the talent is amazing impossible to pick a favourite as they are all so different but I think the illustrations form the book stole my vote

    1. They were beyond belief! So many quilters, but the result was so even you would think only one person had made each one of them. Tove Jansson must have loved them!

  2. I should go through all your posts and make notes. I think our cameras were looking at the same items. Wonderful post. It's such fun to walk through the dome again with your camera.

    1. I just wish it had been possible to take pictures of some quilts at a straight angle. It was just not possible to back away enough to get the whole quilt.

  3. Thank you so much Queenie to show us these fabulous quilts, they are all so beautiful.

  4. A brilliant selection of quilts today, my favourite is the flowers in a red room the colours are so lovely and the applique looks perfect. You must have enjoyed yourself so much at the show, so much to see and do!

    1. Ms Miyauchi, who made the Flowers in a Red Room has won many awards and is well know for her perfect appliqué. You should see the small circles! She also has great colour confidence and the quilts glow or has excellent contrast.

  5. You saved some of the best until last, some stunning work, the detail in those quilts is breathtaking. Thank you for the link to Ms Kuroha, I'm off to look.

    1. It is hard to find good links to Japanese quilters that are written in ENGLISH. It is hard to find their own blog posts and the Japanese text can be boring, just info on workshops and no gallery of photos. Ms Kuroha, however is famous enough to have things written about her by others, hence that magazine article.

  6. Thanks for taking the time to share these beautiful quilts with us! I think the last quilt is my favourite, it looks very French to me. The quilted painting at the background of that quilt is gorgeous!

    1. Yoshiko Kuriha won the Grand Prix some years ago with a stunning quilt of acrobats. Since then her works have been featured every year and she always comes up with a great design. There are always people in her quilts and a lot of geometric shapes and lines.

  7. I've enjoyed my visit to the exhibition via your blog, thank you. I think my favourite is 'at the cafe', but I may change my mind next time I look.

    1. You're in good company then, both Annet (see comment above) and I love it. Ms Kuriha is a quilter whose portraits always charm the audience.

  8. So much to process here that I think i will keep returning to look at each section.
    Lyn Anderson who has a shop near Brisbane is a stall holder at the show. She also commented on the indigo weaving and gave a link to a blog of a weaver who lives outside Toyko. http://japanesetextileworkshops.blogspot.jp
    This gave some great insight into the process. She also had some great images of the fabrics.
    I just love all the images you have posted. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Carolyn, for the links. I hope a lot of readers want to visit both Bryan's and Lynette's sites. My friend Lis went on a study tour to Bryan's world and it was a fantastic experience. Her report starts with this blog post if you are interested: http://piecenpeace.blogspot.jp/2012/04/good-morning-japan.html
      I take my hat off to all those who try to keep old textile traditions alive, and especially to those who make the information available to us who don't read Japanese.

  9. Every year I wait with bated breath for the new Tokyo quilt festival pictures to surface from attendees cameras to my computer. I have so enjoyed your coverage of the quilt festival and especially the new information about numbers of quilters who apply and the numbers that are selected. My dream is to be accepted into the festival next year and I am pushing on despite the gloomy numbers of only 2 accepted for display. I had no idea of the formality of it all until I read about the opening ceremony. Thank You! It has been such a treat to learn 'new' bits and bobs about it....even...about the food stalls etc... I stumbled onto your blog by accident but will definately follow it in the future. My favorite quilt image today is 'Peaceful Scenery in Spring Mist by Toshie Yamagata'.
    Good work on the coverage and even coming to the festival in your bunad. Hats off to you!

    1. Hello and thank you for your kind words.
      I have written about things at the show that I thought would be of interest and use for anyone who would like to visit from abroad but felt hesitant.
      Good luck with your dream of entering the contest; I'd love to see your quilt, and others, from abroad.
      It is hard for me to pick a favourite, but any quilt with embroidery will have a good chance!

  10. That is interesting! Thanks to the many pictures you get an idea of the show, though I am sure it was different to be there.

  11. Thank you for sharing the quilt festival photos.They are all beautiful but I like Spring Midnight by Yoko Sekita the most.I enjoyed reading your posts about this festival and thank you for all the beautiful photographs,it was a treat to see all the details on those lovely quilts.

    1. Yes, Yoko Sekita's quilts are always crowd stoppers. She has such a sense of humour, drawing skills and is an excellent quilter, too.

  12. such beautiful quilts - thank you for sharing - I found you through Tanya and Julie's blogs


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