Thursday, 30 January 2020

Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival - Part 6 - Wa Quilts

Wa (和) is the name given to describe things of Japanese style. When it comes to quilting it might be that old kimono silk or indigo cotton has been used, or that the motif is of cherry blossoms, Mt Fuji or sushi. Or the technique is 'Japanese', e.g. folded fabric, similar to origami, the traditional craft of folding paper into objects.

These were the Wa quilts in the contest that I saw.
柴田千恵子*Chieko Shibata

龍山千津子*Chizuko Tatsuyama cleverly used the Baby Block to make this Cherry Moon quilt.

This quilt, made by 満代由美子*Yumiko Mandai, has elements of folded fabric.
From a distance the fabric looks crumpled, as if it was left too long in the washing machine.
Study the close-up photo and you will see that a very narrow line has been stitched along a folded edge, this folding and stitching has been repeated in a crosswise way across the fabric. Pieces of this 'manipulated' fabric have then been cut and pieced together.

In this quilt you see, no, not dancing jelly beans, but a number of Daruma. It is a lucky charm in the form of a roly-poly doll. Read about Daruma Dolls here.
半よしゑ*Yoshie Nakaba (?)

須川明子*Akiko Sugawa played with another toy - the kite. All these kites have pictures of symbolic things. Can you see the Daruma Doll? The gold fish? The Japanese puffer fish? The rabbit?

A modern version of Mt Fuji with a red sun. Any Japanese can instantly see that this is not a lampshade, but the famous volcano and the sun, which is always pictured red. The pattern at the foot of the mountain could be a mountain range, clouds or waves in any of the lakes nearby... I guess.
堀岡雪江*Yukie Horioka tugged the heartstrings of her fellow Japanese.

The Log Cabin is a foreign element in this quilt, the rest is all 'Wa' - the kimono silk, the cranes flying over the harvest moon, the pampas grass swaying in the wind... you can imagine the haiku poem and the sake.
横川れい子*Reiko Yokokawa stitched poetry.

In four panels on a large quilt 松本紀代子*Kiyoko Matsumoto celebrates the seasons with these flowers.

Now, I will break the rules here, and show two quilts from the Original category, that I think should have been entered in the 'Wa' category of the contest.

南久美子*Kumiko Minami's red chrysanthemums and butterflies.

大浦京子*Kyoko Oura's Japanese hamlet in snow.

They are certainly both original, but Oh, so Japanese.

Finally I will add the quilt that won the Grand Prix, obviously a Wa quilt, with vintage fabric.
永見州樹子*Sumiko Nagami


  1. Thank you Carin for explaining with such details what is a Wa quilt.
    This report is full of colors , all very nice. I must admit that my favortie is Reiko Yokokawa's quilt with the moon and the cranes. I'll see it on the wall of our room :))
    Have a lovely day,
    Take care,

  2. That manipulated and folded fabric is rather interesting, isn't it!

  3. I love the first one and the one with the cranes.

  4. Love these "wa" quilts and the beautiful way you have defined what makes a "Japanese" quilt in spirit. Thank you Carin!

  5. How wonderful to see close up, all these fantastic Japanese quilts. So beautiful it is hard to understand how any one can be chosen over another. The seasonal quilt rounds are so lovely too.

  6. Isn't it interesting to see what makes each of these quilts fit into the Wa Category. How fantastic that the overall show winner is a Wa quilt.


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